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Kendall v. United States ex rel. Stokes

37 U.S. 524, 12 Pet. 524 (1838)

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Kendall v. United States ex rel. Stokes

United States Supreme Court

37 U.S. 524, 12 Pet. 524 (1838)

Facts

The former postmaster general of the United States Postal Services had made a contract with Stockton & Stokes (S&S) (plaintiff) that allowed certain credits and allowances for S&S’s transportation of the mail. Amos Kendall (defendant) was later appointed the new postmaster general and directed that the allowances and credits should be withdrawn. S&S brought the matter before Congress. Congress then enacted a law that directed Kendall to pay the sums of money as recommended by the solicitor of the treasury, Virgil Maxcy. Kendall refused to pay the total set by Maxcy. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia ordered Kendall to pay the sums. Kendall brought the case before the United States Supreme Court by a writ of mandamus, arguing that the legislature cannot control performance of an executive officer’s official duties.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thompson, J.)

Dissent (Taney, C.J.)

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