Martin V. Hunter's Lessee

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  • When I die I want you to have my land.
  • YAY!
  • Virginia owns this land now
  • But it belongs to me!
  • YAY!
  • Hunter you can have one eighth of this land.
  • In 1781, Lord Fairfax, a loyalist living in England, died. He left all of his land in Virginia to his nephew Denny Martin who was a British subject.
  • This land is rightfully mine
  • No it's not
  • In 1782, the land grant was voided and the land was given to the state of Virginia.
  • No it's not
  • Supreme Court
  • This land is mine!
  • Virginia granted a portion of this land to David Hunter, even though the land should have still belonged to Denny Martin.
  • This is all mine!
  • In March of 1816, Martin brought the case to court because he believed that he was still entitled to the land. Virginia ruled that Hunter owned the land.
  • Virginian Court
  • The case was brought to the Supreme Court and on March 20, 1816, they ruled that Martin owned the land. Nobody knew which court should overrule the other, because this had never happened before.
  • The Supreme Court overruled Virginia in order to secure a uniform system of law. This was such a controversial case because federal government overruling state government was not written clearly in Constitution. This set the precedent that the Supreme Court ruled over state courts.
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