Edward Livingston

Edward Livingston Philosophy American History Government Law and Politics Social Studies

The year before his death, Thomas Jefferson was still upset about John Marshall's decision in Marbury v Madison.  In a letter to Edward Livingston, he wrote these words:

This member of the Government [the federal judiciary] was at first considered as the most harmless and helpless of all its organs. [See, for example, Federalist 78.]  But it has proved that the power of declaring what the law is, ad libitum, by sapping and mining slyly and without alarm the foundations of the Constitution, can do what open force would not dare to attempt. 

This debate, about the Supreme Court's power of judicial review, continues to this day.

Media Credits

Engraving of Edward Livingston online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.





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