Marbury v. Madison: Document I, The Kentucky Resolution, Thomas Jefferson (1798)

Do you use document-based questions in your classroom?

This summer the Bill of Rights Institute is blogging a document-based question on the Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison (1803). Each weekly post will feature an excerpted document related to the case, along with some questions to guide your thinking on it. Each document should be used to address the question: “Argue whether or not the Supreme Court should have the power to overturn unconstitutional federal laws.”

Check out our previous posts for Document A, an excerpt from the Anti-Federalist Papers; Document BDocument C, and Document D, excerpts from Federalist no. 78; Document E, an excerpt from Federalist no. 81; Document F, an excerpt from Article III of the US Constitution; Document G, the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution; and Document H, an excerpt from Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789.

The Kentucky Resolution, Thomas Jefferson (1798)

That the several states who formed that instrument [the Constitution], being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and that a nullification, by those sovereignties, of all authorized acts done under colour of that instrument, is a rightful remedy.

>Who or what does Thomas Jefferson assert has the authority to judge the constitutionality of federal laws?


Check back each week to see the next document and how it might change your thinking on this important question that affects all public school teachers and students in the U.S.! If you are enjoying this DBQ – be sure to check out our curriculum Supreme Court DBQs: Exploring the Cases the Changed History.

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