Monday, September 27, 2010

Cohens vs. Virginia

 In 1821 , John Marshall in the case of Cohens vs. Virginia gave Marshall one of his greatest opportunities to defend the federal power. The Cohens, found guilty by the Virginia courts of illegaly selling lottery tickets , appealed to the highest tribunal. Virginia " won ", in the sense that the conviction of the Cohens was upheld. But in fact Virginia and all the individual states lost, because Marshall asserted the right of the supreme court to review all decisions of the state supreme courts in all question involving powers of the federal government. The states' rights proponents were struck with shock.

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