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Martin v. Hunter's Lessee

Significance, The President Vs. The Supreme Court, Rightful Owner Or Alien Enemy?, "the Supreme Law Of The Land"


Thomas Bryan Martin


David Hunter

Plaintiff's Claim

That he, not Hunter, was the rightful owner of a grant of land in Virginia, known as the Northern Neck, left to him by Thomas, Lord Fairfax, a British subject whose title to the land derived from charters from the English kings Charles II and James II.

Chief Lawyer for Plaintiff


Chief Defense Lawyer


Justices for the Court

Gabriel Duvall, William Johnson, Henry Brockholst Livingston, Joseph Story (writing for the Court), Thomas Todd, Bushrod Washington

Justices Dissenting

None (John Marshall did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

20 March 1816


That Martin was indeed the rightful owner of the land--and that the Commonwealth of Virginia must recognize the validity of his claim.

Related Cases

  • Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803).
  • Fairfax's Devisee v. Hunter's Lessee, 7 Cr. 602 (1813).
  • Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. 264 (1821).

Additional topics

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