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What was the Cohens vs. Virginia 1821 decision of the Supreme Court?

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Quick Answer

The Cohens vs. Virginia 1821 decision of the Supreme Court ordered that the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction and power to review decisions of state courts. Ultimately, in this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the decision of the state of Virginia was correct and upheld the verdict.

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Full Answer

The important question in this case was whether or not the Supreme Court had the power to step in and look at the case after a state court in Virginia had ruled. According to Oyez, Chief Justice John Marshall stated that "the Court was bound to hear all cases that involved Constitutional questions" regardless of the identity of the involved parties, adding that federal law overrode state law when state law proved "repugnant to the Constitution."

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