Marbury, original jurisdiction, and the supreme court's supervisory powers

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17 Scopus citations


Conventional accounts of Marbury v. Madison portray Chief Justice Marshall as having contrived the conflict that set the stage for his famous exegesis on judicial review. This Article collects an array of evidence that provides surprisingly strong support for Marshall's supposedly contrived conclusions as to the freestanding nature of mandamus, the meaning of the Judiciary Act of 1789, and the requirements of Article III. Such evidence not only calls for a reevaluation of Marbury and its legacy, but also suggests that Marshall may have deliberately obscured the special supervisory role that the Supreme Court may have been expected to play in relation to inferior courts and officers. Marshall's account may have even influenced the official depiction of the mandamus power, resulting in post-Marbury versions of the statute that differ from the one he likely relied upon in 1803.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalColumbia Law Review
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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