Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Leonard on Fletcher v. Peck

Over at the website of the UC Davis Law Review, you can find Gerald Leonard’s Fletcher v. Peck and constitutional development in the Early United States.  From the article:
This Essay will sketch some of the main lines of struggle over control of the Constitution in the first generation after ratification by focusing on a single major issue, the Yazoo land scandal, which brought out a range of theories of the Constitution and republican authority, eventually generating the landmark Supreme Court case Fletcher v. Peck, often said to be the first case in which the Supreme Court struck down a state statute for unconstitutionality. The Yazoo story began with the corrupt sale of millions of acres of Georgia public lands in 1795, climaxed with the Fletcher case in 1810, and concluded with congressional resolution of all claims in 1814.  During these years, Radical Republicans, moderate Jeffersonian Republicans, Federalists, and the Supreme Court struggled to determine whether the meaning of the Constitution belonged to the people themselves, the people’s elected representatives, or the life-appointed justices of
the Supreme Court.
The same issue includes Aaron Knapp's The Legal Counterrevolution: The Jurisprudence of Constitutional Reform in 1787, which we noted as an SSRN paper.