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Cohens v. Virginia

Significance, Lotteries In America


Philip and Mendes Cohen


State of Virginia

Appellants' Claim

A $100 fine under Virginia state law for selling tickets in Virginia for a national lottery authorized by Congress in the District of Columbia flouted congressional authority.

Chief Lawyers for Appellants

David B. Ogden, William Pickney

Chief Lawyers for Appellees

James Barbor, Daniel Webster

Justices for the Court

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

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

3 March 1821


The justices, on the facts, upheld a fine imposed by a state court, while asserting the Supreme Court's authority, under the Constitution, to review state court decisions.

Related Cases

  • Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816).
  • McCullouch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316 (1819).
  • Michigan v. Long, 463 U.S. 1032 (1983).


West's Encyclopedia of American Law. St. Paul, MN: West Group, 1998.

Further Readings

  • Beveridge, Albert J. Life of John Marshall. Boston, Houghton-Mifflin, 1916.
  • Bickel, Alexander M., and Benno C. Schmidt. History of the Supreme Court of the United States. New York, Macmillan, 1984.
  • Johnson, John W., ed. Historic U.S. Court Cases 1690-1990. New York: Garland Publishing, 1992.
  • Schwartz, Bernard. A History of the Supreme Court. New York, Oxford University Press, 1993.

Additional topics

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