Essay on The Case of Marbury v. Madison

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The case of Marbury v. Madison centers on a case brought before the Supreme Court by William Marbury. Shortly after Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams in the election of 1800, Congress increased the number of circuit courts. Adams sought to fill these new vacancies with people who had Federalist backgrounds. To accomplish this, he used the powers granted under the Organic Act to issue appointments to 42 justices of the peace and 16 circuit court justices for the District of Columbia. Adams signed the appointments on his last day in office and they were subsequently sealed by Secretary of State John Marshall. However, many of the appointments were not delivered before Adams left office and Jefferson ordered the deliveries stopped…show more content…
The Court found that Congress does not have the authority to expand the Court’s original jurisdiction beyond what is specifically given it in Article III. The last question centers on whether the Supreme Court as the original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus. The Court decided that it did not have this jurisdiction. In order to issue a writ of mandamus, the Court may only exercise appellate jurisdiction in an existing case. The Court’s final decision was unanimous and it denied Marbury’s request for the writ of mandamus. Marbury never received his appointment. This case is significant because it established the concept of judicial review. The Constitution does not specifically grant the judiciary this power. Judicial review allows federal courts to review laws and determine if they are constitutional or not. This gives the judiciary the power to void any laws that are found to violate any part of the Constitution. Therefore, Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that the portion of the Judiciary Act of 1789 that gave the federal courts the authority to hear mandamus cases was unconstitutional. Ironically, Chief Justice Marshall is the person who was the Secretary of State under Adams that sealed Marbury’s appointment. McCulloch v. Maryland is a case brought before the Supreme Court
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