Howard W. Brill


Historically, the citizen-plaintiff would have sought the common law writ of mandamus if he were able to scale, or avoid, the threshold barriers of standing and sovereign immunity. This article will examine briefly the history of the writ of mandamus, the requirements for issuance of the writ, and the defenses accepted by courts to deny its issuance. The article will focus specifically on the unique position of the writ in federal courts, including its abolition by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.