1 minute read

Kendall v. United States

Significance, A Carriage And A Pair Of Horses, The President Fails To Intervene, The Separation Of Powers


Amos Kendall, U.S. Postmaster General


United States

Appellant's Claim

That Kendall should not have to order the Post Office Department to pay certain funds to a firm that did business with them, even though a federal court had ordered him to, if he himself, in his official capacity, did not believe the funds should be awarded.

Chief Lawyers for Appellant

Francis Scott Key; Benjamin F. Butler, U.S. Attorney General

Chief Lawyers for Appellee

Richard S. Coxe, Reverdy Johnson

Justices for the Court

Henry Baldwin, Philip Pendleton Barbour, John Catron, John McKinley, John McLean, Joseph Story, Roger Brooke Taney, Smith Thompson (writing for the Court), James Moore Wayne

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

12 March 1838


That the act Kendall objected to was merely "ministerial" and did not require judgment or discretion on his part; therefore, he was obligated to follow the directive of the federal court.

Related Cases

  • Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803).
  • Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 1 Wheat. 304 (1816).

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.
  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • Swisher, Carl B. The History of the Supreme Court of the United States: The Taney Period, 1836-64, Vol. V. New York: Macmillan, 1974.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1833 to 1882