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Marbury v. Madison: Setting the Precedent

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by

Milan Rivas

on 21 May 2012

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Transcript of Marbury v. Madison: Setting the Precedent

Marbury v. Madison: Setting the Precedent Thesis Statement: Through their decision to declare a law unconstitutional in Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court established their power of judicial review. Historical Backround: William Marbury petitioned directly to the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus, or an order to force a government official to do something, telling James Madison to give him his job. William Marbury was a circuit justice appointed by John Adams as he was leaving office, but because his commision was delivered after Adams left office, he was denied his job. James Madison was the defendant. Even though he was Secretary of State, he refused to testfy. argued that even though his
notification of commision had Marbury was the plaintiff, not been delivered while John
Adams was in office, he had and therefore deserved his commision been approved by the Senate James Madison, the defendant, never took the stand during the case, though according to his legal representatives, he had never received the commissions and therefore could not deliver them to Marbury. The Supreme Court's official decision was kind of complicated. It stated:
William Marbury should recieve his commision
The Supreme Court did not have the authority make that decision
The law giving this power to the Supreme Court was unconstitutional The Supreme Court reasoned that the fact that Marbury should get his commision was unimportant, because the law Congress had passed giving the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the case was unconstitutional, because the Constitution never gave Congress the right to define the Supreme Court's power. Because Chief Justice John Marshall wrote for the entire unanimous court, there were neither concurring or dissenting opinions. Impact:
Marbury v. Madison gave the Supreme Court a power it otherwise would not have had, judicial review. This gave the Supreme Court equal footing with the other two branches of government, further enforcing a system of checks and balances. Fletcher v. Peck was the first case where the Supreme Court exercised it's new power of judicial review, though many have come since. Marbury v. Madison was a seemingly insignificant case of whether a man got his job, but served to set up the basis for the power of the Judicial Branch for the rest of our history.
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