Calder v. Bull

3 U.S. 386 (1798)


Under the then existing law of Connecticut, P had a right to recover certain property from the refusal of a probate court to accept the will of Normand Morrison. The Legislature of Connecticut, on the 2d Thursday of May 1795, passed a resolution or law, which set aside a decree of the court of Probate for Harford, on the 21st of March 1793, which disapproved of the will of Normand Morrison (the grandson) made the 21st of August 1779, and refused to record the said will. Based on the legislative resolution, a new hearing was had, and the court ordered the will to be recorded. The superior court affirmed this chain of events. More than 18 months elapsed from the decree of the Court of Probate (on the 1st of March 1793) and thereby P and wife were barred of all right of appeal, by a statute of Connecticut. There was no law of that State whereby a new hearing, or trial, before the said Court of Probate might be obtained. P claims the premises in question, in right of his wife, as heiress of N. Morrison, physician; D and wife claim under the will of N. Morrison, the grandson. The sole inquiry is whether the resolution or law of Connecticut passed on May 2, 1795, is an ex post facto law, within the prohibition of the Federal Constitution.