Cohens v. Virginia

PETITIONER:Philip and Mendes Cohen
LOCATION: Elizabeth River Parish (now site of Norfolk Naval Station)

DECIDED BY: Marshall Court (1812-1823)
LOWER COURT: State trial court

ARGUED: Feb 13, 1821 / Feb 19, 1821 / Feb 20, 1821 / Mar 02, 1821
DECIDED: Mar 05, 1821

Facts of the case

An act of Congress authorized the operation of a lottery in the District of Columbia. The Cohen brothers proceeded to sell D.C. lottery tickets in the state of Virginia, violating state law. State authorities tried and convicted the Cohens, and then declared themselves to be the final arbiters of disputes between the states and the national government.


Did the Supreme Court have the power under the Constitution to review the Virginia Supreme Court’s ruling?