Marbury vs. Madison
In 1803, a single case managed to change how America's government would be run forever. In John Adams' last few days as president, he appointed a small group of Federalists into power. When Thomas Jefferson was elected into office, and he told James Madison to not bring the commissions to an appointed “midnight judge” named William Marbury. This gave the newly appointed Chief Justice, John Marshall, a great opportunity to spread his Federalist influence deeper into the American government. When Marbury found out that his commission was being held back by Madison, he sued for its delivery. This event brought about the case of Marbury vs. Madison. Marbury v. Madison was the first time the Supreme Court declared something "unconstitutional", and established the concept of judicial review in the U.S. (the idea that courts may oversee and nullify the actions of another branch of government). The landmark decision helped define the "checks and balances" of the American form of government. This case influenced how the government would establish laws forever. The biggest issue in the case was whether or not the commission could be forced on its delivery. The biggest questions of the case were: does Article III of the Constitution create a "floor" for original jurisdiction, which Congress can add to, or does it create an exhaustive list that Congress can't modify at all? If Article III's original jurisdiction is an exhaustive list, but Congress tries to modify it anyway, who wins that conflict, Congress or the Constitution? Most importantly, who is supposed to decide who wins? On February 24, 1803, the Court rendered a unanimous (4-0) decision, that Marbury had a right to his commission, but Congress did not have the power to force Madison to deliver it. This seemed like a loss for the Federalist people in the government, but in fact, it changed how the government would work forever. Marshall was enable to...
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