Book Review

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Book Review

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Chief Justice Marshall's legendary opinion in Marbury v. Madison has always been the centerpiece of debate over the legitimacy and scope of the power of judicial review. Unsurprisingly, then, Robert Lowry Clinton's thesis that recent arguments about the judicial power reflect a modem revisionism centers on the claim that the famous opinion has been pervasively misunderstood in modem scholarly thought. Clinton's Marbury v. Madison and Judicial Review develops the view that Marbury was written to defend a very limited defensive power of courts to disregard statutes that conflict with constitutional provisions that directly govern the judicial function. The modem view that the founders contemplated the Supreme Court as the ultimate arbiter of the Constitution, and considered judicial rulings on constitutionality as in general binding on the other branches, is thus an a historical vision that rests on a misreading of the Marbury case itself.

Publication Citation

36 Am. J. Legal Hist. 399 (1992) (reviewing Robert Lowry Clinton, Marbury v. Madison and Judicial Review (1989)).