John Davis, New England, Massachusetts, Thomas Jefferson, Embargo of 1808, Federalists, Jury Nullification
In September 1808, Judge John Davis upheld the constitutionality of the Embargo Act of 1807 under the Constitution’s Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 Interstate Commerce power. Judge Davis’s original opinion curiously lacks any reference to Marbury v. Madison. Judge Davis defends judicial review and rejects the notion of jury nullification. While Judge Davis upheld the embargo’s constitutionality, a subsequent jury trial on the facts resulted in the return of The William to its rightful owners. This case reflects the attempts by early American judges to carve out the power of judicial review and maintain the appearance of an impartial judiciary.
Law | Legal History
Digital Commons Citation
Lederman, Michael G., "United States v. The William and The Phenomena of Jury Nullification in Early 19th Century America" (2017). Legal History Publications. 72.