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An Overview Of The Case Of Marbury V Madison

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Marbury vs Madison is known as one of, if not, the most important U.S. Supreme Court case in American history. And it all started from some paperwork not being delivered. John Adams was the 2nd president of the United States. He was a part of the Federalist Party, a party that was opposed by the soon to be 3rd president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson beat John Adams and had become the new president of the United States in 1800. But just days before leaving office, John Adams appointed some of the judges he had from the Federalist Party to the District of Columbia Courts. The senate approved of this, and the president signed for this. So everything was supposed to be just fine. But, there was a catch to this. Before these judges could keep their jobs and go back to work was a commission. But, these commissions hadn’t been delivered yet. So, they couldn’t go back to their jobs. 

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When Thomas Jefferson took office, he put a screeching halt onto those commissions and told his secretary of state, James Madison to make sure those commissions were not delivered. One of the judges affected by this was William Marbury, a federalist judge from Maryland. William Marbury took this case to the Supreme Court, and he demanded a Writ of Mandamus, Which in layman’s terms is a court order. In 1803, federalist supreme court Justice John Marshall, who was one of the many appointed by John Adams ruled on this case. John Marshall had agreed that William Marbury should be given his commission. But, this doesn’t mean he gets his judge job back. John Marshall had said that the Judiciary Act of 1789 section 13 violated the Constitution, and would have given power to the court. Thereby violating the Constitution and giving power to the court that the Constitution did not agree upon. Basically, the Supreme Court did not have the power to be able to handle a case like this. John Marshall was now in a battle with congress. Judicial review was to act on laws unconstitutionally and remove them. With this, the Supreme Court had defined themselves as separate and equal to things such as congress or the executive branch.

Now, how did this case actually end? Did Marbury get his judge job back? Well, unfortunately, Marbury could not receive the writ he had wanted, because the court had no power for this case. The Court did say that Madison not delivering the commissions was illegal, but, they did not say that Madison had to comply because, like listed above, letting this case be successful and letting Marbury get his job back, It would completely violate the Constitution. Marshall was a huge “fan” of the Constitution, saying that it “rules the land” of the United States and going against it would go against everything that would have been put into action. 

10 Jun 2021

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