The Johns Hopkins Gazette: February 17, 2003
February 17, 2003
VOL. 32, NO. 22


A Look Back at a Landmark Case: The 200th Anniversary of Marbury v. Madison

By Glenn Small

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

Scholars, lawyers, journalists, historians and others interested in the landmark Supreme Court case Marbury vs. Madison will gather in Baltimore next week to mark the 200th anniversary of the decision that established the authority of the high court to declare laws unconstitutional.

Scheduled to take place at Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland School of Law, the two-day commemoration of the Marbury decision--a case with a fascinating backdrop of political intrigue involving the Jeffersonians versus the Federalists--kicks off with a talk by Mark Tushnet, professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. He will give the opening address at 8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 24, in Hodson Hall on the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus. His talk is titled "The Seeming Emulation of Marbury vs. Madison Abroad."

"Marbury v. Madison is one of the foundation cases of American law," said Joel Grossman, a Johns Hopkins political science professor and expert on the Supreme Court. Yet, he said, "it's one of those cases that very few people think about or know about."

The conference continues on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the University of Maryland School of Law with four panel discussions of various aspects of the case, including one that delves into its background. That panel, which will be moderated by Peter Quint, the Jacob A. France Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Maryland, is titled "Origins: The Case of Marbury v. Madison (1803) and the Establishment of Judicial Review."

A panel featuring Anthony Lewis, former Supreme Court reporter and columnist for The New York Times, will discuss "Judicial Review, Judicial Activism, Democratic Governance and the Countermajoritarian Difficulty: Whither the Rehnquist Court?"

Lynne A. Battaglia, a judge on the Maryland Court of Appeals, will give a luncheon address.

All events are free and open to the public, but space is limited. For more details and to register, call 410-706-4128 or e-mail

This conference is sponsored by Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland School of Law, the University of Baltimore School of Law, the Piper Rudnick law firm and the University of Maryland, College Park.