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Cleveland State University

Judicial review

Constitutional Law

Law Faculty Articles and Essays

Publication Year

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The True Story Of Marbury V. Madison, David F. Forte Jan 2003

The True Story Of Marbury V. Madison, David F. Forte

Law Faculty Articles and Essays

Though normally not friends of original intent or legal tradition, today's judicial "activists" like to trace their lineage back to the (purported) original judicial activist, to the great Chief Justice who was the first to persuade the Supreme Court to strike down a law of Congress.

According to this conceit, which is now the standard interpretation enshrined in countless histories and hornbooks, Marbury v. Madison was the breakthrough that demonstrated how truly powerful the judiciary could be. In this famous case, decided 200 years ago, Marshall supposedly showed that the Constitution is an elastic document or at least could ...


Lincoln, Marshall And The Judicial Role, David F. Forte Jan 2002

Lincoln, Marshall And The Judicial Role, David F. Forte

Law Faculty Articles and Essays

Abraham Lincoln understood judicial activism. For Lincoln, the paradigm of the unrestrained Supreme Court was the decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford. Lincoln saw the "illegitimacy" of Dred Scott not in that the Supreme Court had overturned an act of Congress. It was, rather, that the Supreme Court, in the guise of making a legal decision, instead made a political decision. Even worse, it was a political decision that sought to redefine the polity in fundamental, constitutional terms. Lincoln's position echoed the most eloquent articulation of judicial review ever made by the Court: in Marbury vs. Madison, Chief Justice ...


Natural Law And The Limits To Judicial Review, David F. Forte Jan 1996

Natural Law And The Limits To Judicial Review, David F. Forte

Law Faculty Articles and Essays

The very premise of judicial review in America is rooted in the structure of natural law. Judges have no authority to make any kind of law. They can only enforce and apply authoritatively passed positive law. But if the positive law has not been enacted, either in form or substance, without proper authority, then if the judge should enforce such a law, he would in fact be making new positive law, and would be acting outside of his authority.


John Marshall And The Moral Basis For Judicial Review, David F. Forte Jun 1994

John Marshall And The Moral Basis For Judicial Review, David F. Forte

Law Faculty Articles and Essays

During the last two decades, many observers have been disappointed in some of the appointments to the federal bench and in the judicial philosophies some judges have brought with them. But if we turn to the source of our constitutional order, we would find in the example of John Marshall the moral basis for the judicial craft.