Report of a Committee of the Legislature of Virginia, on the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court over the case of Cohen v. Virginia, Jan. 9, 1821.
The committee of the house of delegates, to whom was referred so much of the governor's message as informs the general assembly, that the commonwealth of Virginia "is cited and admonished to be and appear at a supreme Court of the United States, to be holden at Washington, on the first Monday in February next, pursuant to a writ of error filed in the clerk's office of the quarterly session court of the borough of Norfolk, in a cause wherein Philip I. Cohn and Mendez I. Cohen are plaintiffs in error, and the said commonwealth is defendant, to show cause, if any there be, why the judgment rendered against the said Philip I. Cohen and Mendez I. Cohen, as in the said writ of error mentioned, should not be corrected, and why speedy justice should not be done to the parties in that behalf," respectfully submit to the consideration of the house of delegates the following report and resolutions:
By an act of congress, power has been given to the corporation of the city of Washington, to authorize the drawing of lotteries, for effecting the improvement of that city. The corporation of the city of Washington have accordingly established lotteries for that purpose; and lottery tickets have been vended and distributed within the jurisdictional limits of the commonwealth, in open defiance of a positive statute of her legislature, which forbade it.
The committee are unwilling to believe, that the congress of the United States, representing as they always should, the justice, the wisdom, and the interests of the people, could so far forget the sacred obligations under which they were convened to legislate, as to delegate to the corporation of the city of Washington, authority to vend and distribute these tickets through the union, in open defiance of the constituted authorities of the respective states; because, it is believed that such a delegation of authority is new and unheard of; supported by no experience; justified by no analogy; without example of our ancestors, or root in the constitution.
But, under present circumstances, when the right of the federal legislature to delegate this