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Federal Courts Have Jurisdiction Where State And Federal Laws Conflict


Two brothers from Norfolk, Virginia, sell tickets in their hometown for a lottery in Washington, D.C. Congress had set up the lottery only for people in Washington, and Virginia had a law banning some gaming. The Virginia Supreme Court rules that the Cohen brothers violated Virginia law by selling the tickets. When the brothers appeal and the case goes before the U.S. Supreme Court, Virginia argues that the federal courts have no power to review the conviction. The high court disagrees on the grounds that state laws or actions can violate federal laws or U.S. constitutional provisions and therefore can be reviewed in federal courts, but rules that the Virginia court decision was correct.