Vanhorne's Lessee v. Dorrance

views updated


VANHORNE'S LESSEE V. DORRANCE, 2 U.S. (2 Dallas) 304 (1795), was one of the earliest cases in which a federal court asserted the right to disregard a state law that was held to be in conflict with the state constitution. A Pennsylvania law divesting one person of property and vesting it in another without compensation, according to Justice William Paterson, was inconsistent with the "inherent and unalienable rights of man." Paterson also viewed the Pennsylvania law as a violation of the sanctity of contracts as guaranteed by the state constitution and the Constitution of the United States, and therefore declared it unconstitutional and void.


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

P. OrmanRay/a. r.

See alsoAppeals from Colonial Courts ; Contract Clause ; Holmes v. Walton ; Judicial Review ; Judiciary ; Marbury v. Madison ; Trevett v. Weeden .