Kinder Institute: Marbury v. Madison and Constitutional Legitimacy

John Marshall

Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy: John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, and the Construction of Constitutional Legitimacy


In an event at University of Missouri’s Kinder Institute, a JMC partner program, JMC fellow Clyde Ray will consider Chief Justice John Marshall’s famous opinion in Marbury v. Madison (1803) as a vehicle for investigating contemporary interpretations of both John Marshall and the concept of constitutional legitimacy. He will discuss how Marshall’s opinion located legitimacy in several aspects of the Constitution, including its protection of rights, its embodiment of the consent of the governed, and its ability to organize and direct national politics. Yet more than simply uniting existing approaches to legitimacy, he will suggest that Marbury offers a unique theory of the Constitution’s moral legitimacy as well. Ray will aim to reveal Marshall as not only a legal and political thinker, but also as a constitutional theorist with a distinctive understanding of the American Constitution and its role in the early years of the republic.

Friday, February 8, 2019 • 3:30 PM
Jesse Hall, Room 410 • University of Missouri

Free and open to the public

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Clyde RayClyde Ray is currently visiting faculty at La Salle University. He was previously a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Political Science at Duke University, and completed his Ph.D. in political science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His book on John Marshall’s political thought, entitled John Marshall’s Constitutionalism, is forthcoming from the State University of New York Press in June 2019. He resides near Philadelphia.

Clyde attended JMC’s 2015 Summer Institute in Philadelphia.



The Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri is an interdisciplinary, signature academic center on the Columbia campus, jointly operated by faculty from the Political Science and History Departments, in cooperation with other scholars across campus. It is dedicated to excellence in research, teaching, and community engagement on the subjects of American political thought, history, and institutions, with a particular emphasis on the ideas and events of the American Founding and their continued global impact and relevance today. It was created in 2015 by a generous gift from the Kinder Foundation, a family philanthropic foundation started by Rich and Nancy Kinder of Houston, Texas.

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