Denny “must”, so the Supreme Court must

Denny Martin, a British subject, ownedthe title to land that had been willed to him by Lord Fairfax.

The Virginia didnot honor the original land grant, then transferring Martin’s land back toVirginia and granting ownership to Hunter. Under the Jay Treaty, Martin wasprotected and had the right to own land as a British citizen. The VirginiaCourt of Appeals ruled that the State of Virginia had the authority to take theland from Martin. When this case reaches the Supreme Courtof the United States, the issue at hand is if the appellate jurisdiction of theSupreme Court supersedes the ruling of the Virginia state courts. The SupremeCourt issued a writ of error and reversed the lower court’s decision. Yes, theruling of the Supreme Court trumps that of the Virginia Court of Appeals.

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TheSupreme Court is interpreting the language of the Constitution as it refers tojudicial power. The language present in Article III of the Constitution states “shall”which means “must”, so the Supreme Court must have appellate jurisdiction overfederal law questions. The creation and jurisdiction of lower  federal courts is at the discretion ofCongress, if Congress does not want the Supreme Court to review state courtjudgements, then it would have to make federal law cases exclusive to lowerfederal courts by law. 


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