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Facts of the Case 

This case involved the Treaty of Paris, which established peace in 1783. A Virginian owed a debt to a British subject. A Virginia law provided for the confiscation of such debts on the ground the the debt was owed to an alien enemy. The British subject (actually, his administrator) sued in a federal court to recover on the bond. The administrator argued that the Treaty of Paris ensured the collection of such debts.


Does the Treaty of Paris override an otherwise valid state law?


Four of the five justices wrote opinions. It was the practice of the day for the Court to issue opinions seriatim, or one after another. There was no "opinion for the Court." Collectively, the justices held that federal courts had the power to determine the constitutionality of state laws. They invalidated the Virginia law under the supremacy clause and, in the words of a distinguished scholar of the period, "established for all time [the Supreme Court's] power of judicial review of state laws."

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WARE v. HYLTON. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1792-1850/1796/1796_0>.
WARE v. HYLTON, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1792-1850/1796/1796_0 (last visited August 26, 2015).
"WARE v. HYLTON," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1792-1850/1796/1796_0.