Suzanna Sherry

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Constitutional Commentary

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Being a Supreme Court justice must have been more fun in the eighteenth century than it is today. The caseload was lighter, and the Court was a social as well as a political center., The justices also apparently felt considerably less constrained by formal or informal rules of governance. In a single case in 1796, the Court violated virtually every rule of procedure and canon of construction. Hylton v. United States2 is an obscure taxation case cited occasionally as an unilluminating pre-Marbury example of judicial review.3 It is a charming illustration of the nonchalance with which the early Court approached its constitutional duties.

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