For the first time, the Supreme Court asserted its appellate jurisdiction to review decisions by state supreme courts.
During the American Revolution, Virginia confiscated the land estate of loyalist Lord Fairfax and sold it to private interests. Virginia also enacted a law denying the right of foreign subjects to inherit land in the state. Fairfax’s English heir, Denny Martin, argued in court that the Virginia law was inconsistent with treaties between the United States and Britain. In Fairfax’s Devisee v. Hunter’s Lessee
Speaking for a unanimous Court, Justice Joseph Story
Cohens v. Virginia
Fairfax’s Devisee v. Hunter’s Lessee
Judiciary Act of 1789
States’ rights and state sovereignty