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41485484 Case Briefs on Constitutional Law

41485484 Case Briefs on Constitutional Law

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Published by Yin Huang

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Published by: Yin Huang on Oct 22, 2011
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05/14/2013

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3 U.S. 386 (1798)

Overview

Calder sued to invalidate a will of whom Bull
was the beneficiary.

Facts

Calder successfully sued to invalidate a will of
whom Bull was the beneficiary. Calder thus be-
came the decedent’s heir at law. The Connectic-
ut legislature subsequently passed a resolution
setting aside the outcome of the trial and grant-
ing a new hearing. The will was approved at
the new hearing, thereby restoring the inherit-
ance to Bull. Calder then claimed that the le-
gislature’s act amounted to an ex post facto law.

Issue

Did the Connecticut legislature have authority
to pass a resolution on the matter of the will?

Holding

The Connecticut legislature had such authority.

Reasoning

Chase, J. A legislature cannot do what the
people have implicitly left beyond its powers
even if there is no express constitutional pro-
hibition of those actions. The Connecticut legis-
lature did not exceed the boundaries of its
power, as Calder had no vested interest in the
inheritance in the first place.
Iredell, J. Even if an act of legislature is
thought to conflict with natural justice, the
courts are powerless to do anything to overturn
that act. All a court can say is that it does not
agree with the legislature’s reasoning.

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