The Supremacy of Federal Courts 1821

The Supremacy of Federal Courts 1821

The Supremacy of Federal Courts 1821
The Supremacy of Federal Courts 1821 – Chief Justice John Marshall—one of the most important figures in the history of the judiciary— depicted in an 1862 engraving by Alonzo Chappel.

Cohens v. Virginia, John Marshall (1755–1835)

In Cohens v. Virginia (1821), the United States Supreme Court confirmed its power to review any state court verdicts in situations arising under the federal Constitution or a federal statute.

The Judiciary Act of 1789 mandated that the Supreme Court review final judgments of any state’s highest court in cases “where the validity of a treaty or statute of the United States is called into question and the decision is against its validity” or “where the validity of a statute of any state is called into question on the ground that it is repugnant to the Constitution, treaties, or laws of the United States, and the decision is in favor of its validity.”

Fairfax’s Devisee v. Hunter’s Lessee (1813), a case concerning a property dispute, saw the Supreme Court overturn Virginia’s highest court and order it to file a judgment in favor of the party initially found against.

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