Iredell, James [key], 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).
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