Marbury Question -- Cancelling a term

William Funk funk at
Tue Sep 4 20:43:20 PDT 2007

Thanks to all those who pointed me to the Judiciary Act of 1802, cancelling
the August term of the Court.  
In all the discussions of legislative checks on the judiciary, I have never
seen a discussion of the power of Congress to cancel terms of the Supreme
Court.  Clearly (I hope), Congress could not simply cancel all terms of the
Supreme Court indefinitely, which would in effect eliminate the power of the
Supreme Court to hear cases in its original jurisdiction, but I guess it
would not threaten the foundations of the Republic, if the Supreme Court
could only meet every other year.  Every third year?  
Is there writing on this?
Bill Funk
Lewis & Clark Law School

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Vladeck, Steve [mailto:svladeck at]
> Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2007 5:14 PM
> To: William Funk; ConLawProf
> Subject: RE: Marbury Question
> Bill -- If memory serves, Congress accomplished this via the Judiciary Act
> of 1802, ch. 31, 2 Stat. 156. The Act repealed the August term provision
> of the 1789 Act, and instead provided that the Court would sit in
> which had the effect of "cancelling" the 1802 Term, and making February
> 1803 the next sitting of the Court.
> Best,
> -steve
> ---
> Stephen I. Vladeck
> Associate Professor
> American University Washington College of Law
> 4801 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Room 386
> Washington, DC  20016
> (202) 274-4241
> svladeck at
> ________________________________
> From: conlawprof-bounces at on behalf of William Funk
> Sent: Tue 9/4/2007 8:02 PM
> To: 'ConLawProf'
> Subject: Marbury Question
> There are often references to the fact that Congress cancelled a term of
> the
> Supreme Court, which delayed the Court's hearing of Marbury's case.  Does
> anyone have a cite to the law that did this?  Or, alternatively, how did
> Congress do it -- by denying funds for the Court or some other means?
> Bill Funk
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