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2003

University of Michigan Law School

Marbury v. Madison

President/Executive Department

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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 ...