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University of Michigan Law School

Marbury v. Madison

Supreme Court of the United States

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Foreword: A Silk Purse?, John T. Noonan Jr. Aug 2003

Foreword: A Silk Purse?, John T. Noonan Jr.

Michigan Law Review

On March 2, 1801, President John Adams appointed forty-two persons to be justices of the peace in the District of Columbia. John Marshall, doubling as Secretary of State as well as Chief Justice, failed to deliver the commissions. Adams's term expired. James Madison, Marshall's successor as Secretary of State, withheld seventeen of the commissions. In 1802, William Marbury and three other appointees to this minor office brought mandamus against Madison in the Supreme Court. Madison was ordered to show cause why the writ should not issue. Congress abolished the June sitting of the Court. Only in 1803 was ...


Comparative Constitutionalism In A New Key, Paul W. Kahn Aug 2003

Comparative Constitutionalism In A New Key, Paul W. Kahn

Michigan Law Review

Law is a symbolic system that structures the political imagination. The "rule of law" is a shorthand expression for a cultural practice that constructs a particular understanding of time and space, of subjects and groups, as well as of authority and legitimacy. It is a way of projecting, maintaining, and discovering meaning in the world of historical events and political possibilities. The rule of law - as opposed to the techniques of lawyering - is not the possession of lawyers. It is a characterization of the polity, which operates both descriptively and normatively in public perception. Ours, we believe, is a nation ...


Judging The Next Emergency: Judicial Review And Individual Rights In Times Of Crisis, David Cole Aug 2003

Judging The Next Emergency: Judicial Review And Individual Rights In Times Of Crisis, David Cole

Michigan Law Review

As virtually every law student who studies Marbury v. Madison learns, Chief Justice John Marshall's tactical genius was to establish judicial review in a case where the result could not be challenged. As a technical matter, Marbury lost, and the executive branch won. As furious as President Jefferson reportedly was with the decision, there was nothing he could do about it, for there was no mandate to defy. The Court's decision offered no remedy for Marbury himself, whose rights were directly at issue, and whose rights the Court found had indeed been violated. But over time, it became ...


The Irrepressible Myth Of Marbury, Michael Stokes Paulsen Aug 2003

The Irrepressible Myth Of Marbury, Michael Stokes Paulsen

Michigan Law Review

Nearly all of American constitutional law today rests on a myth. The myth, presented as standard history both in junior high civics texts and in advanced law school courses on constitutional law, runs something like this: A long, long time ago - 1803, if the storyteller is trying to be precise - in the famous case of Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court of the United States created the doctrine of "judicial review." Judicial review is the power of the Supreme Court to decide the meaning of the Constitution and to strike down laws that the Court finds unconstitutional. As befits the ...


Alternative Forms Of Judicial Review, Mark Tushnet Aug 2003

Alternative Forms Of Judicial Review, Mark Tushnet

Michigan Law Review

The invention in the late twentieth century of what I call weak-form systems of judicial review provides us with the chance to see in a new light some traditional debates within U.S. constitutional law and theory, which are predicated on the fact that the United States has strong-form judicial review. Strong- and weak-form systems operate on the level of constitutional design, in the sense that their characteristics are specified in constitutional documents or in deep-rooted constitutional traditions. After sketching the differences between strong- and weak-form systems, I turn to design features that operate at the next lower level. Here ...


If History Mattered: John Marshall And Reframing The Constitution, Aviam Soifer May 2003

If History Mattered: John Marshall And Reframing The Constitution, Aviam Soifer

Michigan Law Review

What more can there be to learn about John Marshall? We have been blessed recently with a flood of fine books about Marshall and the Supreme Court over which he presided from 1801 until 1835. We also now have readily available an impressive collection of documents concerning the Court before Marshall, as well as a fine series collecting, introducing, and annotating Marshall's papers. With recent bicentennial celebrations marking the beginning of Marshall's career as Chief Justice and the anniversary of Marbury v. Madison, an outpouring of law review articles and scholarly symposia have offered learned exchanges about the ...


Interpretation And Institutions, Cass R. Sunstein, Adrian Vermeule Feb 2003

Interpretation And Institutions, Cass R. Sunstein, Adrian Vermeule

Michigan Law Review

Suppose that a statute, enacted several decades ago, bans the introduction of any color additive in food if that additive "causes cancer" in human beings or animals. Suppose that new technologies, able to detect low-level carcinogens, have shown that many potential additives cause cancer, even though the statistical risk is often tiny - akin to the risk of eating two peanuts with governmentally-permitted levels of aflatoxins. Suppose, finally, that a company seeks to introduce a certain color additive into food, acknowledging that the additive causes cancer, but urging that the risk is infinitesimal, and that if the statutory barrier were applied ...


Dissing Congress, Ruth Colker, James J. Brudney Oct 2001

Dissing Congress, Ruth Colker, James J. Brudney

Michigan Law Review

The Supreme Court under Chief Justice Rehnquist's recent leadership has invalidated numerous federal laws, arguably departing from settled precedent to do so. The Rehnquist Court has held that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority in five instances during the 2000-01 Term, on four occasions during the 1999-2000 Term and in a total of twenty-nine cases since the 1994-95 Term. Commentators typically explain these decisions in federalism terms, focusing on the Court's use of its power to protect the States from an overreaching Congress. That explanation is incomplete and, in important respects, unpersuasive. The Rehnquist Court has not been as ...


How To Apply The Religious Freedom Restoration Act To Federal Law Without Violating The Constitution, Gregory P. Magarian Aug 2001

How To Apply The Religious Freedom Restoration Act To Federal Law Without Violating The Constitution, Gregory P. Magarian

Michigan Law Review

Learned commentators have called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 ("RFRA" or "the Act") "perhaps the most unconstitutional statute in the history of the nation" and "the most egregious violation of the separation of powers doctrine in American constitutional history." In the 1997 case of City of Boerne v. Flores, the Supreme Court struck down the Act in its applications to state and local governments, declaring that "RFRA contradicts vital principles necessary to maintain separation of powers and the federal balance." The Act's applications to federal law, however, survived Boerne, which means that plaintiffs with religious freedom claims ...


Losing Faith: America Without Judicial Review?, Erwin Chemerinsky May 2000

Losing Faith: America Without Judicial Review?, Erwin Chemerinsky

Michigan Law Review

In the last decade, it has become increasingly trendy to question whether the Supreme Court and constitutional judicial review really can make a difference. Gerald Rosenberg, for example, in The Hollow Hope, expressly questions whether judicial review achieves effective social change. Similarly, Michael Klarman explores whether the Supreme Court's desegregation decisions were effective, except insofar as they produced a right-wing backlash that induced action to desegregate. In Taking the Constitution Away from the Courts, Mark Tushnet approvingly invokes these arguments (pp. 137, 145), but he goes much further. Professor Tushnet contends that, on balance, constitutional judicial review is harmful ...


The Democracy-Forcing Constitution, Neal Devins May 1999

The Democracy-Forcing Constitution, Neal Devins

Michigan Law Review

During my freshman year in college, I was told not to judge a book by its cover. The book in question - Lolita; the cover suggested something quite salacious. My professor explained that a soldier, who had purchased Lolita to work out some of the kinks of military life, found himself tossing the book out, proclaiming in disgust "Literature!" Well, I cannot claim precisely the same reaction to Cass Sunstein's One Case at a Time (my expectations were lower than the soldier's). Nevertheless, for those expecting a lefty defense of judicial restraint, One Case at a Time is not ...


Pure Politics, Girardeau A. Spann Jun 1990

Pure Politics, Girardeau A. Spann

Michigan Law Review

Part I of this article considers the impact that judicial discretion has on the traditional model of judicial review, and that model's reliance on the Supreme Court as the primary guardian of minority interests. Part II argues that the interests of racial minorities can be better advanced through the ordinary political process than through the process of Supreme Court adjudication. Part Ill emphasizes that minority participation in Supreme Court proceedings cannot ultimately be avoided and, accordingly, suggests a political model of the Court that minorities can use in an effort to neutralize the Court's distortion of the political ...


Hyneman: The Supreme Court On Trial, William W. Van Alstyne Nov 1964

Hyneman: The Supreme Court On Trial, William W. Van Alstyne

Michigan Law Review

A Review of The Supreme Court on Trial. By Charles S. Hyneman


Review Of The Supreme Court On Trial, By C. S. Hyneman., Jerold H. Israel Jan 1964

Review Of The Supreme Court On Trial, By C. S. Hyneman., Jerold H. Israel

Reviews

Professor Hyneman's book represents still another entry in the current debate over the proper role of judicial review in a democratic society.' Although he approaches this subject via an analysis of several recent attacks upon the United States Supreme Court, Professor Hyneman essentially deals with the same topics-the legitimacy of judicial review, the proper standards applicable to constitutional adjudication, and the alleged departure of the school segregation cases2 from those standards-that have served as the subject of several books and at least a score of articles published within the past five years.3 Indeed the writing in this area ...


Some Checks And Balances In Government, Thomas M. Cooley Dec 1875

Some Checks And Balances In Government, Thomas M. Cooley

Articles

The purpose of the present paper is not to discuss the broad general subject of checks and balances in this, or any other, government. but to call attention to a few considerations only. These, in the main, affect the executive and the judiciary, rather than the legislature; and they will serve to show, perhaps, that neither of them can always, and under all circumstances, rely upon any very sure protection to its legitimate powers. It is one thing, unfortunately, to put intricate machinery in motion, and another, and quite a different, thing, to make it, under unforeseen occurrences, work out ...