• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court upheld a key provision of dual federalism.

Justice Samuel F. MillerMiller, Samuel F.;Murdock v. Memphis[Murdock v. Memphis] wrote the opinion for the 5-3 majority, upholding the concept that a state’s top appellate court, not the U.S. Supreme Court, was the final arbiter of the meaning of that state’s constitution and laws. This was originally specified in the 1789 Judiciary ActJudiciary Act of 1789, but that provision had been omitted from the 1867 amendment. The question was whether the congressional omission meant that the Court had state jurisdiction, but Miller found that such an important question could not be decided by congressional silence alone. The previous provision remained in effect. Justices Joseph P. Bradley, Nathan Clifford, and Noah H. Swayne dissented. Justice Morrison R. Waite did not participate.Dual federalism;Murdock v. Memphis[Murdock v. Memphis]

Federalism

Finality of decision

Judiciary Act of 1789

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