One of the most famous cases in U.S. history involved a writ of mandamus -- an order to a government agency or official to behave in accordance with the law. In Marbury v. Madison, William Marbury asked the U.S. Supreme Court to order the U.S. Secretary of State (James Madison) to affirm Marbury's commission as the D.C. Justice of the Peace.
Today, courts still use these writs to compel government action. In this episode, Michael Morguess discusses his new solo practice in southern California, where he frequently seeks writs of mandamus for clients fired by government agencies. Michael's clients come to him when they need to appeal an unfavorable result from an administrative hearing. The job of the court is to review the administrative proceedings to ensure that the agency proceeded in accordance with the law, that the employee received a fair trial with the agency, and that the agency's decision is supported by the evidence and findings.
Michael has not only spent many years helping government employees, but he's also been across the aisle representing cities and in chambers clerking for a California state judge who ruled on the very writs he seeks. So when he writes and argues briefs for a judge, he knows exactly what everybody is thinking. With jobs and livelihoods on the line, Michael faces a lot of pressure, but the intellectual challenge and thrill of victory buoy his non-traditional litigation practice.
This episode is hosted by Debby Merritt, a law professor at Ohio State University.