Friday, February 1, 2013

Martin v. Hunter's Lessee case brief

Martin v. Hunter's Lessee
14 U.S. 304


PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Plaintiff appealed from the Court of Appeals of Virginia which found for defendant in plaintiff's action of ejectment, the Supreme Court of the United States reversed, but the cause was brought again to the Supreme Court on writ of error because the court of appeals would not recognize the decision.

FACTS: The Supreme Court of the United States reversed a decision of the Court of Appeals of Virginia regarding a land ejectment action. The court of appeals refused to obey the mandate of the Supreme Court because it determined that the appellate power of the Supreme Court did not extend to the state court of appeals. On writ of error, the Supreme Court held that the appellate power of the United States does extend to cases pending in the state courts; and that the Judiciary Act § 25, which authorizes the exercise of this jurisdiction in the specified cases, by a writ of error, was supported by the Constitution. The Court reasoned that appellate review of state court decisions guaranteed uniformity of laws, avoided state jealousies and biased interests, and entitled a defendant with the power of removal, which assured defendants equality in asserting their constitutional rights.

OUTCOME: The Court held that it had appellate jurisdiction regarding the writ of error because the matter concerned a federal statute and it had appellate jurisdiction over the state appellate court in the original action because it concerned a national treaty.

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