Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. (6 Wheat.) 264 (1821), is a landmark case by the Supreme Court of the United States that is most notable for the Court's assertion of its power to review state supreme court decisions in criminal law matters if defendants claim that their constitutional rights have been violated. The Court had previously asserted a similar jurisdiction over civil cases involving U.S. parties.
The defendants were members of a prominent Baltimore banking family. A U.S. senator and two U.S. representatives served as attorneys for the opposing sides. The two defendants, Mendes I. Cohen and Philip J. Cohen, would later rise to the positions of U.S. Army Colonel and Maryland Delegate (Mendes), and U.S. Postmaster (Philip).
Congress passed a bill to establish a National Lottery to raise money for the District of Columbia that was conducted by the municipal government. Meanwhile, Virginia had established its own state lotteri