Denny Martin, a British subject, owned
the title to land that had been willed to him by Lord Fairfax. The Virginia did
not honor the original land grant, then transferring Martin’s land back to
Virginia and granting ownership to Hunter. Under the Jay Treaty, Martin was
protected and had the right to own land as a British citizen. The Virginia
Court of Appeals ruled that the State of Virginia had the authority to take the
land from Martin.

When this case reaches the Supreme Court
of the United States, the issue at hand is if the appellate jurisdiction of the
Supreme Court supersedes the ruling of the Virginia state courts. The Supreme
Court issued a writ of error and reversed the lower court’s decision. Yes, the
ruling of the Supreme Court trumps that of the Virginia Court of Appeals. The
Supreme Court is interpreting the language of the Constitution as it refers to
judicial power. The language present in Article III of the Constitution states “shall”
which means “must”, so the Supreme Court must have appellate jurisdiction over
federal law questions. The creation and jurisdiction of lower  federal courts is at the discretion of
Congress, if Congress does not want the Supreme Court to review state court
judgements, then it would have to make federal law cases exclusive to lower
federal courts by law. 

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