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Fletcher v. Peck

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Fletcher v. Peck

Supreme Court of the United States

Argued February 15, 1810

Decided March 16, 1810

Full case name: Robert Fletcher v. John Peck
Citations: 10 U.S. 87; 3 L. Ed. 162; 1810 U.S. LEXIS 322; 6 Cranch 87
Prior history: Demurrer overruled, D. Mass
Subsequent history: None
Holding
The Contracts Clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibited Georgia from voiding contracts for the transfer of land, even though they were secured through illegal bribery. Circuit Court for the District of Massachusetts affirmed.
Court membership
Chief Justice John Marshall
Associate Justices William Cushing, Samuel Chase, Bushrod Washington, William Johnson, Henry Livingston
Case opinions
Majority by: Marshall
Joined by: Cushing, Chase, Washington, Livingston
Concurrence/Dissent by: Johnson
Laws applied
U.S. Const. Art. I, 10, Cl 1

Fletcher v. Peck, Template:Ussc was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision.

The case grew out of the 1795 Georgia state legislature's sale of land in the Yazoo River country (in what is now Mississippi) to private speculators in return for bribes. Voters ejected most of the incumbents in the next election and the next legislature, reacting to the public outcry, repealed the law and voided transactions made under it.

John Peck had purchased land that had previously been sold under the 1795 act. Peck sold this land to Robert Fletcher and in 1803, Fletcher brought suit against Peck, claiming that he did not have clear title to the land when he sold it.

The case reached the Supreme Court, which, in a unanimous decision, ruled that the state legislature's repeal of the law was unconstitutional. The opinion, written by John Marshall, argued that the sale was a binding contract, which according to Article I, Section 10, Clause I (the Contract Clause) of the Constitution cannot be invalidated, even if illegally secured. Today the ruling further protects property rights against popular pressures, and is one of the earliest cases of the Court asserting its right to invalidate state laws conflicting with the Constitution.

See also: Yazoo land scandal

Further reading

Yazoo: Law and Politics in the New Republic: The Case of Fletcher v. Peck by C. Peter Magrath, 1966 ISBN 0608184195

See also

External links

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