Marbury v. Madison, Document H: Section 13, Judiciary Act of 1789

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; and Document G, the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution.

Section 13, Judiciary Act of 1789

The Supreme Court … shall have power to issue … writs of mandamus, in cases warranted by the principle and usages of law, to any courts appointed, or persons holding office, under the authority of the United States ….

>What powers does Section 13 give the Supreme Court?


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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