Ap. Us pd. 7
Marbury vs. Madison (1803):
On the final of his presidency, John Adams named forty-two justices of the peace and sixteen new circuit court justices for the District of Columbia with the “Midnight Appointments”. “The Midnight Appointments” were an attempt by the Federalists to take control of the federal judiciary prior to Thomas Jefferson taking office.
The commissions were signed by President Adams and sealed by acting Secretary of State John Marshall (who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and author of this opinion), but they were not delivered before the termination of Adams’s presidency. Thomas Jefferson refused to honor the commissions, claiming that they were invalid because they had not been delivered by the end of Adams’s term.
In the case of Marbury v Madison, the actual suit was William Marbury applying to the Supreme Court of the United States to compel James Madison, Jefferson’s Secretary of State, to deliver the commissions.
The constitutional issue present in the case was whether or not the Supreme Court had the authority to review acts of Congress and determine whether or not they are unconstitutional, making them void. The other Constitutional issue in the case was whether or not Congress can expand the scope the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction beyond that which is defined in Article III of the Constitution.
The court’s Ruling was actually somewhat mixed. The court ruled that Marbury did have right to the commissions because the order would go into effect when Adams signed the papers. This was so because he was still in power when he signed them. The also ruled that Congress did not have the power to expand the original jurisdiction of Supreme Court beyond that which is specified in Article III of the Constitution. Their reasoning behind this was that the Constitution states “the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction in all cases affecting ambassadors,