Validity of Federal Statutes

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.A. § 1257, in cases where the validity of a United States statute is drawn into question, the Supreme Court review of a state court judgment is permitted.  A state law which extended over an unincorporated territory by an act of Congress is considered a law of the United States as if it was originally enacted by Congress.

For the validity of a federal statute to be drawn into question, the constitutionality of such statute must be questioned.  In Baltimore & P. R. Co. v. Hopkins, 130 U.S. 210 (U.S. 1889), the court held that the validity of an act of Congress, or authority of the United States, was not drawn into question as to give the Court jurisdiction.  In an appeal to the Supreme Court, the constitutionality of a federal statute can be properly raised. Where the issues only deal with the construction of the statute, the validity of a federal statute is not questioned.

In Baltimore & P. R. Co. v. Hopkins, 130 U.S. 210 (U.S. 1889), it was held that appellate jurisdiction was conferred on the Supreme Court by the 25th section of the Judiciary Act of 1789, over final judgments and decrees in any suit in the highest court of law or equity of a state in which a decision in the suit could be had, in three classes of cases, namely:

  • Where is drawn in question the validity of a treaty or statute of, or an authority exercised under, the United States, and the decision is against their validity.
  • Where is drawn in question the validity of a statute of, or an authority exercised under, any state, on the ground of their being repugnant to the Constitution, treaties, or laws of the United States, and the decision is in favor of such their validity.
  • Where is drawn in question the construction of any clause of the Constitution, or of a treaty, or statute of, or commission held under, the United States, and the decision is against the title, right, privilege, or exemption specially set up or claimed by either party, under such clause of the said Constitution, treaty, statute, or commission.

Inside Validity of Federal Statutes