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Major Decisions-Marbury v. Madison

Major Decisions-Marbury v. Madison

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Major Decisions-Marbury v. Madison

Marbury v.
Madison is one of the most significant court cases in United States history.
Its significance can be evaluated on different levels, however, the most
important is the fact that the case would grant the Supreme Court and the rest
of the Judicial branch extended powers not written into law by the
Constitution. Furthermore it would be the first time that the Supreme Court
would declare something as “unconstitutional”, setting precedence over
the responsibility and power of the Judicial Branch in times to come.

Marbury v. Madison was the result of William Marbury petitioning
the Supreme Court
 for a writ of mandamus in regards to his newly appointed
position as Justice of the Peace in the District of Columbia. A writ of
mandamus, in simple terms, is simply a petition to the courts that a specific
action be taken or barred.

James
Madison, the Secretary of State at the time, refused to deliver certain
documents to Marbury that would establish his new office on the contingency
that such documents were not delivered during the Presidency of John Adams,
whose term had expired. The matter was brought to the Supreme Court, with
Marbury basing his claims on the Judiciary Act of 1789.

John
Marshall, the Chief Justice, upon examination of the Act and the Constitution
would encounter several factors that proved problematic. Marbury’s main
argument was based on the Judiciary Act of 1789, which would grant the Supreme
Court jurisdiction over writs of mandamus by the powers of Congress (See Also:
 Article I).
Marshall was faced with certain issues regarding the Constitution and the
powers delegated to both Congress and the Supreme Court.

Marshall and the Supreme Court
would have to address whether Article III
 of the Constitution sanctioned
for Congress to modify original jurisdiction and if it had to power to do so.
Furthermore, the original jurisdiction as defined in Article III provides for
any written provisions regarding such practice, and if Congress modifies those
Constitutional provisions, it becomes an issue of determining which of the two
is to have more power. In the process, Marshall would be establishing the
practice that is now known as judicial review.

Judicial review is one of the
most important outcomes of this case because it would become the ability of the
judicial branch to review practices of both the Legislative and Executive
branches and declare laws unconstitutional. Judicial review is the power of the
courts to review laws or administrative practices and determine if they are
within the confines allowed by the United States Constitution.

Judicial review was established when Marshall used
provisions in the Constitution that would lead him to state that the Congress
did not have the power to modify the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction. The
Judiciary Act and the Constitution would prove to be conflicting legislation.
Marshall would also determine that any Congressional act that is in conflict
with the Constitution could not be deemed as law. Because the Constitution is
deemed as the supreme law in the United States, the Courts must follow it
precisely as their main function in the Judicial Branch. Therefore, by
establishing judicial review, the Court would be able to decide how and when
laws of the United States and Constitutional law applied to a particular
matter, and that the Supreme Court should uphold the Constitution in higher
regard. If laws conflict with the Constitution, then through judicial review,
the Supreme Court must deem them as unconstitutional.

Ultimately,
Marshall would declare that the Judiciary Act of 1789 that was passed by
Congress was unconstitutional and would, therefore, be rendered invalid. In the
case of Marbury v. Madison, Marbury would lose the litigation and never take
the position of Justice of Peace that was originally appointed to him.

Marbury v. Madison would become one of the most
important Supreme Court cases in United States history, for it established the
precedent of judicial review, thus granting the Judicial Branch certain powers
over the Legislative and Executive branches. Judicial review would essentially
employ the system of checks and balances, thus ensuring the democratic process
and structure of the United States Government.

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