Supreme Court Decisions

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Plessy v. Ferguson Pages: 3 (937 words) Published: September 20, 2012
Supreme Court Decisions

Decisions of the United States Supreme Court have had a significant impact on the nation. Multiple cases that have been brought upon the Supreme Court have huge impacts on the nation. A lot of these cases have had such an impact on American society that they’ve left a permanent mark. Marbury v. Madison, a Supreme Court case in 1803 that is considered one of the first major cases is very important to the way our government is structured. Also Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 played an important role in history.

There were many factors that led to Marbury v. Madison evolving into the case that it did. One might consider Thomas Jefferson’s election in 1800 to be the starter. Jefferson was an advocate of a weak national government, as opposed to the federalists who had been in control before 1800. So while John Adams was on his way out of the presidency, he and the federalists appointed more judges to newly created federal courts. So Jefferson went after these federal courts, ordering James Madison to not deliver the paper that would officially give Marbury his position as judge for one of these courts. So Marbury took this to court. Chief Justice John Marshall gave a remarkable ruling because he assumed a new power for the judiciary. He was able to avoid deciding on the issue directly. He said that while Marbury should have been given his appointment papers, the law granting the power to the Supreme Court to order Madison to deliver the papers was itself unconstitutional. This started the thought of judicial review. This was the part of the decision that proved the most influential on American history. Marshal greatly strengthened the Supreme Court giving the judicial branch its foundations as an equal part in the system of checks and balances. Although the Supreme Court rarely declares a law unconstitutional, judicial review remains its greatest weapon to counteract the executive and legislative branches.

Plessy v. Ferguson, in 1869...
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