James Iredell

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Iredell, James

(īr`dĕl), 1751–99, American jurist, b. Lewes, England. He emigrated (1767) to North Carolina, where he entered the customs service at Edenton and was made (1774) collector for the port. He was admitted to the bar in 1771, and after the outbreak of the American Revolution he helped to organize the North Carolina court system. He became (1777) a judge and later (1779–81) was attorney general. His strong support of the proposed U.S. Constitution helped procure its adoption by North Carolina. In 1790, Iredell was made an associate justice of the newly established U.S. Supreme Court. Among his notable opinions was his dissent in Chisholm v. Georgia (1793) when the majority holding was that a state might be sued in the federal courts without its consent. The Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (adopted 1798) made that view the law of the land.


See biography by G. J. McRee (1857, repr. 1949).

Iredell, James

(1751–99) Supreme Court justice; born in Lewes, England. He emigrated to North Carolina at age 17 and became active in the revolution against England. He served as a North Carolina judge (1777–78) and as state attorney general (1779–81). At age 38, he was the youngest of the original six U.S. Supreme Court justices when chosen by President Washington, serving from 1790–99.
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422) Justice Iredell would have ruled as Hamilton, Madison, and Marshall would have expected.
89) Justice Iredell disagreed with Justice Chase's premise:
Looking back with the benefit of two hundred-plus years of hindsight, the assertions of Justices Wilson and Blair that the scheme was "radically inconsistent with the independence of th[e] judicial power" and of Justice Iredell that "no decision of any court of the United States can .
507 (1795), Supreme Court Justice Iredell declared that 'a Court of Admiralty in one nation, can carry into effect the determination of the Court of Admiralty of another.
Justice Iredell argued that if Congress or a state legislature "shall pass a law, within the general scope of their constitutional power, the Court cannot pronounce it to be void, merely because it is, in their judgment, contrary to the principles of natural justice.
Justice Iredell of North Carolina, who joined the Court in April 1790, traveled around 1800 or 1900 miles on the Southern circuit in 1790 and an additional 1800 miles to get to and from Philadelphia.
Justice Iredell, for example, swept the terms of constitutional debate aside, bringing the common law to the fore and reasserting its power for the post-constitutional age.
Justice Iredell responded: "The Court cannot pronounce [such an act] to be void, merely because it is, in their judgment, contrary to the principles of natural justice.
58) Justice Iredell provided the following definition: "[legislatures] shall not pass any ex post facto law; or, in other words, they shall not inflict a punishment for any act, which was innocent at the time it was committed; nor increase the degree of punishment previously denounced for any specific offence.
The Sedition Act: Justice Iredell defended the Act on the grounds that seditious speech jeopardized the constitutionally established regime of republican government and even the freedom of the press itself.
Justice Iredell agreed with his fellow judge, and further argued

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