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Marbury vs. Madison

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Jennifer Huff

on 15 November 2013

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Transcript of Marbury vs. Madison

Marbury v. Madison
Supposed to send out judicial commissions
Assumes James Madison will send out commissions
3rd President
Secretary of State for Jefferson
Putting the story together
William Marbury was promised a commission for a Justice of the Peace position by John Adams through the "midnight appointments." John Marshall, Adams' Secretary of State, failed to deliver all of the commissions he was given. William Marbury petitioned for a writ of mandamus (an order requiring a person to do something). John Marshall, now the Supreme Court Chief Justice, was charged with determining whether or not Marbury was entitled to his commission, and whether or not the Supreme Court was able to grant his petition. John Marshall determined that the Judiciary Act of 1789, which granted the Court the authority to grant writs of mandamus, was unconstitutional because it gave the Supreme Court too much power.
John Marshall
Secretary of State for John Adams
Chief Justice under Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Refused to allow James Madison to send out commissions
Because Jefferson is an Anti-Federalist, he is opposed to the idea of Federalist judges having authority in the federal court system
Does not send out commissions because President Jefferson tells him not to do so
James Madison
John Adams
2nd President

John Adams appointed Federalists to newly created positions within the Federal Court system...this is known as the "midnight appointments" because this was one of the last acts of his presidency
Promised a job as a "justice of the peace"

Petitioned for a "writ of mandamus" that would require James Madison to deliver the commission (contract) for the judicial position
William Marbury
In determing that an act of Congress (the Judiciary Act of 1789) was unconstitutional, the Supreme Court established the principle of judicial review (the power of the federal courts to determine the constitutionality of acts of Congress or the President). This greatly increased the power of the Supreme Court.
Full transcript