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The Cases Of Martin V. Hunter's Lessee And Ex Parte Mc Cardle

1811 words - 8 pages

Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee is a case heard by the Supreme Court involving a land dispute. Lord Thomas Fairfax was a British Loyalist and landowner in Virginia during the American Revolution. Virginia enacted legislation during the war that allowed for the seizure of land held by those people loyal to the British and took Lord Fairfax’s property. Virginia then granted ownership of a tract of the seized property to David Hunter. After the war ended, the United States and Great Britain agreed to a treaty in which the United States guaranteed to protect the ownership of land held by British Loyalists. When Lord Fairfax died, his nephew, Thomas Martin, inherited the Lord’s land holdings and ...view middle of the document...

Article VI further states “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby…“ (Constitutional Convention, 1787) which establishes the supremacy of the federal government. The Court’s decision was unanimous with Chief Justice John Marshall recusing himself due to a conflict of interest.
This case is significant because it affirmed the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to hear appeals of cases decided in state courts. This jurisdiction is granted in Article III of the Constitution and state judges must abide by Supreme Court rulings as outlined in Article VI. This makes the Supreme Court the single deciding body on issues involving interpretation of federal laws and the Constitution.
Ex parte McCardle is a case heard by the Supreme Court involving the appeal of a habeas corpus writ filed by William McCardle in federal court in Mississippi. McCardle was a newspaper publisher in Mississippi who wrote and published several editorials that were considered libelous and inflammatory. He was arrested and detained under the authority of the Military Reconstruction Act of 1867. This congressional act established military governments in the former Confederate states as well as the criteria necessary for each state to be readmitted to the United States. McCardle filed a habeas corpus writ with a federal court in Mississippi and challenged the constitutionality of the Reconstruction Act, specifically Congress’ authority to establish a military government. The Reconstruction Act gave federal courts jurisdiction to hear habeas corpus cases and granted the Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction in such cases. The court denied McCardle’s writ and found that the military’s actions were within the scope of the Reconstruction Act. McCardle appealed the case to the Supreme Court.
After McCardle’s case was heard by the Supreme Court, Congress repealed the portion of the Reconstruction Act granting the Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction in the case. Therefore, the Supreme Court could not proceed with the case. Since the case had been presented, the Court had to determine if Congress had the authority to make exceptions to the jurisdiction in cases where it had already been given. The Court found that its appellate jurisdiction is derived from the Constitution and not Congress. However, this jurisdiction is subject to exceptions made by Congress. Therefore, Congress created an exception when it repealed portions of the Reconstruction Act and removed the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the case. The other question involved whether or not the Supreme Court had to first determine its jurisdiction before reviewing a case. The Court determined that it did have to determine jurisdiction prior to reviewing a case. Without jurisdiction,...

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