Cohens v Virginia
By 192596, Updated
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Hey you! You're not allowed to do that here. Selling lottery tickets in Virginia is illegal!
It is ruled that the Cohen brothers are guilty and must pay $100 because it is illegal for lottery tickets to be sold in Virginia.
This is so unfair! Our actions are protected by the Act of Congress authorizing the D.C. lottery. We need to appeal to the Supreme Court!
There is no way that this is fair. The Supreme Court shouldn't have jurisdiction over this case. We are allowed to make our own laws!
We have decided that the Supreme Court does have jurisdiction over the Virginia court. However, we also find the Cohen brothers guilty.
This Supreme Court decision is most noted for the court's assertion of its jurisdiction over state court decisions when the defendant claims their Constitutional rights have been violated.
“In many states, the judges are dependent for office and for salary on the will of the legislature. [When] we observe the importance which [the Constitution] attaches to the independence of judges, we are the less inclined to suppose that it can have intended to leave these constitutional questions to tribunals where this independence may not exist, in all cases where a state shall prosecute an individual who claims the protection of an act of Congress.” -John Marshall
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