This year we celebrate a United States Supreme Court decision that marks the beginning of modern jurisdiction over constitutional questions: Marbury v. Madison. This is all the more remarkable since, when it was decided two hundred years ago in 1803, it was controversial and many still maintain it was wrongly decided. Chief Justice Marshall ruled on a dispute which he had earlier had a hand in causing, since the alleged legal error – the untimely delivery of a commission to Justice of the Peace Marbury – fell within his area of responsibility as Secretary of State. He dismissed the petition because the incorrect legal procedure had been chosen. However, he did not examine this question at the outset but – contrary to the accepted procedural rules of his time – at the end. This left room for a wide-ranging discussion of the right of judicial review, which was not required by law, and was, therefore, obiter dicta. Thomas Jefferson later referred to this discussion as the Chief Justice's “obiter dissertation.” Of course, Adams himself contended that the case turned on the judicial right of review, since this was a component of his argument that the petition should be dismissed.