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Judicial Review Overview

Judicial Review Overview

Judicial review acquires its roots from all the way back to that of the presidential election of 1800. It represents the Supreme Court’s authority to review cases and decide on whether or not such laws are Constitutional.

The advent of judicial review stems back to the time in which John Adams had submitted defeat at the hands of Thomas Jefferson. Despite this hit to the Federalist regime, however, Adams proceeded with a stream of actions that he believed would ensure some basis of Federalist power regardless of the change in the Presidency.

Due to a delay in time in relation to when exactly Jefferson took office, Adams was able to proceed without any immediate opposition. His appointment of justices became known as the “midnight appointments,” since they seemed to have happened overnight.

Though they had all been approved by the Senate, one additional step must be fulfilled for these appointments to have gone into effect legally. These “commissions” must have been distributed to those appointed in order for it to be achieved to its completion. Delivery never occurred, however, as President Jefferson finally took his place and ordered that the commissions not be sent prior to the return of James Madison, who balanced both appointments as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as well as acting Secretary of State. With the absence of such appointments, Adams’ men were unable to take up the various offices set upon them as well as go forth with duties he had wished them to begin.

In addition, the Judiciary Act of 1801 was abolished and replaced by a subsequent Judiciary Act of 1802, which reverted terms to follow in the footsteps of the early Judiciary Act of 1789. As a result, Marbury, one of those individuals set to take up an appointment as a Justice of the Peace for the District of Columbia, decided to file a complaint with the
Supreme Court.

This case came to be known as Marbury v. Madison. The basis of the issue may be stemmed from the following specification. In order for a case to be heard by the Supreme Court, the following must occur: filing with the Supreme Court, filing with a lower Federal court and filing appeals upwards, and filing in a State court and also appealing up.

From these choices, then, Marbury assumed the quickest option. However, such an option required the existence of “original jurisdiction,” which the Supreme Court was not stated as having at that moment in time. Due to this Marbury cited the Judiciary Act of 1789, which stated that Congress had the ability to enable the Supreme Court to acquire “original jurisdiction”. The Supreme Court came to a final decision that worked to appease all involved as much as its powers could. It ruled that Marbury did possess the legal right to attain his commission but stipulated that it could not force Madison to convey it to him.

In addition, Chief Justice John Marshall stated that such a claim was unconstitutional since it granted the Supreme Court the power that is not set forth within Article 3 of the
United States Constitution. This action represented the first time that the Supreme Court had even possessed the authority to declare an Act unconstitutional, and thus, make an Act from Congress void, thus also representative of the very first judicial review.