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Fletcher v. Peck

Significance, Land Grabs And Corrupt Legislators, Innocent Third Parties, Contracts And The Constitution, Ex Post Facto Law


Robert Fletcher


John Peck

Appellant's Claim

Peck had purchased some land from the state of Georgia, which he later sold to Fletcher. Subsequently, the Georgia state legislature rescinded the original sale to Peck. Fletcher's claim was that he had bought the land in good faith and that Peck was guilty of breach of contract.

Chief Lawyers for Appellant

Luther Martin

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

John Quincy Adams, Robert Goodloe Harper, Joseph Story

Justices for the Court

Samuel Chase, William Cushing, William Johnson, Henry Brockholst Livingston, John Marshall (writing for the Court), Thomas Todd, Bushrod Washington

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

16 March 1810


That a legislature could repeal or modify the acts of a preceding legislature, but it could not invalidate a previously made contract.

Related Cases

  • Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 4 Wheat. 519 (1819).
  • Sturges v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. 122 (1819).
  • Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge, 11 Pet. 420 (1837).
  • Dodge v. Woolsey, 18 How. 331 (1856).


Baltimore Law Review, Vol. 21, 1992.


Knappman, Edward W., ed. Great American Trials. Detroit, MI: Visible Ink Press, 1994.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1637 to 1832