Green v. Biddle 8 Wheaton 1 (1823)

Author:Leonard W. Levy

Page 1228

This case extended the CONTRACT CLAUSE to INTERSTATE COMPACTS, the obligation of which a state may not impair. The Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice JOSEPH STORY, voided Kentucky acts that failed to protect property rights guaranteed by that state's compact with Virginia, entered into when Kentucky became an independent state. On reargument, Senator HENRY CLAY defended the state. His Kentucky colleague, Senator Richard Johnson, inveighing against judicial "despotism" and "oligarchy," demanded repeal of section 25 of the JUDICIARY ACT OF 1789, proposed packing the Court, and sought a restriction of JUDICIAL REVIEW. Justice BUSHROD WASHINGTON, grounding the Court's second opinion in the contract clause, declared that "we hold ourselves answerable to God, our consciences and our country ? be the consequences of the decision what they may." Kentucky passed state-sovereignty resolves, but congressional measures to limit judicial review and to repeal section 25 failed, because the Court's enemies...

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