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Court Cases of Supreme Court Vs State Courts

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Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee is a case heard by the Supreme Court involving a land dispute. Lord Thomas Fairfax was a British Loyalist and landowner in Virginia during the American Revolution. Virginia enacted legislation during the war that allowed for the seizure of land held by those people loyal to the British and took Lord Fairfax’s property. Virginia then granted ownership of a tract of the seized property to David Hunter. After the war ended, the United States and Great Britain agreed to a treaty in which the United States guaranteed to protect the ownership of land held by British Loyalists. When Lord Fairfax died, his nephew, Thomas Martin, inherited the Lord’s land holdings and subsequently sued Virginia to recover the property taken during the American Revolution. Martin was victorious in state court and Hunter appealed to the Virginia Court of Appeals where the lower court’s decision was reversed. Martin then appealed the case to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court found that since the treaty superseded the state’s law, Martin was the rightful owner of the land and remanded the case back to Virginia Court of Appeals to enter a decision for Martin. The Virginia Court of Appeals refused to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision and questioned the Court’s jurisdiction in cases decided by a state court. The question before the Supreme Court in this case was whether or not the Supreme Court had appellate jurisdiction over a state court in matters involving federal law. In other words, did the Supreme Court have the power to hear appeals in cases involving federal law that were decided by a state court? The Court found that it did have such jurisdiction as granted by the Constitution. Article III,... ... middle of paper ... ...ried precedents in law. This decision confirmed the supremacy of the Supreme Court as the single deciding body for the interpretation of federal law and Constitutional issues. Ex parte McCardle is the only instance of Congress taking action to limit the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. This case affirmed the constitutionally granted power of Congress to make exceptions it deems necessary and limit the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. West Coast Hotel Company v. Parrish is important because it allows the judiciary to decide on issues that developed based on changes in society since the Constitution was written. The writers of the Constitution could not foresee how society would change over time, but recognized it would. This decision provides the judiciary the means to apply what is written in the Constitution to an ever-changing world.