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THE FEDERALISTS responded to Anti-Federalist attacks on the U.S. Constitution written in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1787 by publishing The Federalist Papers. In Federalist Number 78, Alexander Hamilton sought to allay fears about the new judicial branch of government by promising that “the judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power … it can never attack with success either of the other two.” Hamilton reasoned that since the Supreme Court, which was the only court created by the Constitution, had neither the power of the sword like the president, nor the power of the purse like Congress, the judiciary would never challenge executive or legislative authority. Despite Hamilton's assurances, the Supreme Court gained its weapon in 1803 with Marbury v. Madison (1 ...

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