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Cohens v. Virginia


COHENS V. VIRGINIA, 6 Wheaton 264 (1821). The Cohens had been convicted of selling lottery tickets in Virginia, a practice prohibited by state law but allowed under federal law in the District of Columbia. On appeal to the United States Supreme Court, the state asserted its legal sovereignty and denied the federal court's right of review. Invoking the doctrine of national supremacy, Chief Justice John Marshall upheld its appellate jurisdiction over state court judgments in cases where the conviction violated some right under the Constitution or federal laws. This was one of Chief Justice John Marshall's most influential opinions, establishing national authority over the states.


Hall, Kermit L. The Supreme Court and Judicial Review in American History. Washington, D.C.: American Historical Association, 1985.

Luce, W. Ray. Cohens v. Virginia (1821): The Supreme Court and State Rights. New York: Garland, 1990.

CharlesFairman/a. r.

See alsoConstitution of the United States ; Judicial Review ; Judiciary ; Lotteries ; McCulloch v. Maryland ; Osborn v. Bank of the United States ; Supreme Court .

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