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Washington, New York & Flatbush, 1804. Nine volumes. Half blue morocco and cloth. Contemporary ownership inscriptions on titlepages of two volumes, institutional stamps on titlepages of all volumes. One titlepage remargined, another repaired with tape. Light tanning and foxing. A very good set. A very rare and important set, here present in first editions throughout. Because of its publication over a period of 14 years in three different cities with three different printers, a complete set is virtually impossible to obtain. The REPORTS give accounts of cases before the Supreme Court from 1801 to 1815, during which time Cranch was reporter of the Court. According to the DAB, "These reports have always been highly regarded for their clarity and accuracy, and are of great importance since they contain a large number of Chief Justice Marshall's most vital opinions on fundamental constitutional problems." These include Marbury vs. Madison, reported in volume one, and probably about 350 cases in total. The reports begin with John Marshall's first term as Chief Justice, and continue through 1815, covering just under one half of Marshall's tenure in charge of the Supreme Court, and therefore contain accounts of many cases fundamental to the power of the court and the manner in which it interpreted the Constitution. The most famous of these is of course Marbury v. Madison, decided in 1803, in which the court ruled that it could not order James Madison as Secretary of State to deliver a commission to William Marbury, invalidating part of the Judiciary Act of 1789, and thereby creating the concept of judicial review that immediately became one of the central functions of the Supreme Court. Rendering the majority opinion in that case, Marshall wrote, "It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each.... The judicial power of the United States extends to all cases arising under the constitution." Other notable cases contained here include Stuart v. Laird, another case related to the Judiciary Act of 1801 and the Midnight Appointments of John Adams, decided just a few weeks after Marbury, which affirmed the ability of Congress to create and abolish lower level federal courts, and which refuted the claim that judicial decisions were enforceable only by the court that made them. An 1804 decision in a case related to maritime shipping during the Quasi War with France, Little v. Barreme, ruled that the President of the United States does not have any power or authority to ignore an act of Congress. The Strawbridge v. Curtiss decision in 1806 established the concept that parties in a federal suit had to be from different states. During this period, the Supreme Court also established its authority to determine the constitutionality of state laws. In the 1813 case Fletcher v. Peck, which arose out the various issues surrounding the Yazoo land claims in Georgia at the end of the 18th century, the court ruled unconstitutional a state law that repealed the act allowing the sale of the Yazoo lands to individuals on that grounds that the original sales represented binding contracts. In this case, Marshall wrote that, "The legislature of Georgia could not revoke a grant once executed. It had no right to declare the law void; that is the exercise of a judicial, not a legislative function. It is the province of the judiciary to say what the law is, or what is was. The legislature can only say what the law shall be." William Cranch, the compiler of the reports, was a distinguished jurist in his own right. Born in Massachusetts, he was the son of Abigail Adams' sister, and a classmate of John Quincy Adams, his cousin, at Harvard. His uncle appointed him to the United States district court shortly before leaving the Presidency. Although he was a staunch Federalist, Jefferson made him chief justice of the District of Columbia in 1805, a post he held for the next fifty years. The pressure of his own court work caused Cranch to cease producing Supreme Court reports after publishing his final volume in 1817. The Cranch reports were reprinted in Philadelphia by Carey & Lea in 1830-34, and Sabin cites only that set (the reports have of course been reprinted since in U.S. Reports), while Shaw and Shoemaker cite only the first volume, not noting any of the others. A most important set, basic to the history of the Supreme Court and American constitutional law, containing contemporary accounts of many landmark cases of the Marshall Court, and extremely rare as a complete run of the original edition. DAB IV, p.502. SABIN 17390 (ref). SHAW & SHOEMAKER 6096 (vol. 1 only). GROLIER AMERICAN HUNDRED 26 (specifically for the case of Marbury vs. Madison in Vol. I).
      [Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
Last Found On: 2017-10-10           Check availability:      Biblio    


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