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U.S. Supreme Court
Hayburn's Case, 2 U.S. 2 Dall. 409 409 (1792)
2 U.S. (2 Dall.) 409
MOTION FOR MANDAMUS
This was a motion for a mandamus to be directed to the Circuit Court for the District of Pennsylvania commanding the said court to proceed in a certain petition of Wm. Hayburn, who had applied to be put on the pension list of the United States as an invalid pensioner.
The principal case arose upon the act of Congress passed 23 March, 1792.
The Attorney General (Randolph) who made the motion for the mandamus, having premised that it was done ex officio, without an application from any particular person, but with a view to procure the execution of an act of Congress particularly interesting to a meritorious and unfortunate class of citizens, the court declared that it entertained great doubt upon his right, under such circumstances and in a case of this kind, to proceed ex officio, and directed him to state the principles on which he attempted to support the right. The Attorney General accordingly entered into an elaborate description of the powers and duties of his office.
But the court being divided in opinion on that question, the motion, made ex officio, was not allowed.