Name of Case: Cohens v. VirginiaYear of Decision: 1821Background of Case:
The Cohen brothers were charged by the state of Virginia for the crime of selling District of Columbia lottery tickets in Virginia. Selling lottery tickets was against Virginia state law butwas not outlawed in D.C. by the federal government. Thus the Cohens argued that the federalwas supreme to the state of Virginia law.
However, the state of Virginia argued that the Supreme Court had no right to review a Virginiacriminal case without the consent of the state of Virginia.Parts of Constitution in Question:
Article III Section 2
gives the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the “all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States. And treaties made, or which shall be made,under their authority.”
this gives the Federal court the right to review and make decisions on all such cases asdescribed aboveCourt's Decision and Reasoning for decision:
The Court ruled in favor of Virginia
The Opinion of the Court, written by Chief Justice Marshal, states that the Court ruled infavor of Virginia because the federal act as passed by Congress only authorized the sellingof lottery tickets in the District of Columbia. The document makes it clear, however, thatunder the second section of the third article of the Constitution, the court of the Union had jurisdiction to review decisions of state courts.