Pray v. Belt (1828)

In Pray v. Belt (1828) 26 U.S. 670, a provision of a will then before the court was, viz.: "Whereas, my will is lengthy, and it is possible I may have committed some error or errors, I do therefore empower, as fully as I could do myself, if living, a majority of my acting executors -- my wife to have a voice as executrix -- to decide in all cases, in case of any dispute or contention: whatever they may determine is my intention shall be final and conclusive, without any resort to a court of justice." The United States Supreme Court upheld the above provision and stated that such a clause should receive such a judicial construction as would comport with the reasonable intention of the testator. Chief Justice Marshall held, that there cannot be such a construction given to a clause of the kind here involved as will prevent a party who conceives himself injured by the construction from submitting his case to a court of justice. He said that if such a case comes before the court, the court must construe the will rightly.