Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 17,300+ case briefs...

Hayburn’s Case

United States Supreme Court
2 U.S. 409 (1792)



The Invalid Pensions Act of 1792 (the Act) provided financial assistance for injured veterans of the Revolutionary War [Quimbee editor’s note: “invalid” as used here is a noun meaning a disabled person]. The Act held the federal circuit courts responsible for determining the eligibility of applicants for benefits by hearing evidence on their military service, war injuries, and disabilities, and then making a calculation of benefits. The court would then forward the information of qualified applicants to the secretary of war, along with the recommended amount of benefits. The Act directed the secretary to then place the qualified applicants’ name on the pension list, unless the secretary suspected the award was made by mistake or otherwise granted improperly, in which case the name was reported to congress for review. Attorney General Randolph filed a petition for mandamus in the United States Supreme Court to command the Circuit Court for the District of Pennsylvania to fulfill its duties under the Act. The petition was filed ex officio, not on behalf of any specific petition for benefits under the Act. The Supreme Court questioned Randolph’s right to file the petition and asked for further support for his position. The Court then disallowed the petition, because it was not filed on behalf of any applicant. Randolph then amended the petition as being on behalf of William Hayburn. The Court agreed to hold the petition under advisement until its next term, but no decision was ever rendered, since congress in the interim provided other means of relief for the veterans. Nevertheless, several circuit courts wrote opinions or letters on the issue of whether the directives of the Act to the courts were proper.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Advisory opinions of circuit courts)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 457,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 457,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 17,300 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial