5 February, 2013
Marbury v. Madison
Marbury v. Madison was a very influential Supreme Court case in the history of the United States. Marbury v. Madison was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court formed the basis for the exercise of judicial review. This happened under Article III in the Constitution. The court case helped to make a boundary between the executive and judicial branches of the American form of government. In the final days of his presidency, John Adams appointed a large number of justices of peace for the District of Columbia whose commissions were approved by the Senate, signed by the president, and had the official seal of the government on them. William Marbury, who was the Justice of Peace, asked the Supreme Court to force James Madison, Secretary of State, to deliver the commissions. The commissions were not delivered, however, and when President Jefferson assumed office, March 5, 1801, he ordered Madison not to deliver them. Marbury then asked the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus forcing Madison to show reason not to receive his commission. It was through three questions asked by John Marshall that the case was resolved. First, did Marbury have a right to the writ for which he petitioned? Second, if he has a right and that right was violated, do the laws of the United States allow the courts to grant Marbury such a writ? And third, if they did, is it right to ask the Supreme Court to issue such a writ? (Nichols 1).
The biggest Constitutional issue with Marbury v. Madison is that it validated Article III of the Constitution which granted the Supreme Court the highest level of judicial power in the United States, and outlined which types of cases were parts of the Court's appellate jurisdiction, and which were parts of its original jurisdiction (Mountjoy 24). There were six Justices for the case and these were Samuel Chase, William Cushing, John Marshall, William Paterson, and Bushrod