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Marbury v. Madison

Justice Alfred Moore

Although he was a member of the Supreme Court at the time of Marbury v. Madison, Associate Justice Alfred Moore (1755-1810) did not take part in that historic decision. His five years on the Court (1799-1804) were unremarkable, and he wrote only one recorded opinion.

The son of a colonial judge in North Carolina, Moore studied law and was admitted to the bar at age 20. He fought in the Revolutionary War as a soldier and saboteur. He served on the North Carolina legislature in 1782 and 1792, and he held the position of attorney general for his home state. He argued the case of Bayard v. Singleton (1787), a state case that, as Marbury v. Madison would do, touched on the then-controversial issue of judicial review.

Moore led his state in ratifying the U.S. Constitution in 1788. He stepped down from his position as attorney general to protest the creation of a state solicitor general position. He lost a race for the senate in 1795 by a margin of just one vote.

In 1799, President John Adams nominated him to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Moore's poor health caused him to miss the judicial review debates that included Marbury v. Madison. His sole opinion was in Bas v. Tingy (1800), on an undeclared naval conflict between the United States and France. In 1804 Moore retired from the Court and died six years later in North Carolina. Among his other achievements was the establishment of the University of North Carolina.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1637 to 1832Marbury v. Madison - Significance, Marbury Goes To Court, Marshall Proclaims The Doctrine Of Judicial Review, Justice Alfred Moore