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Marbury vs Madison

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Aurora Taylor

on 16 October 2015

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Transcript of Marbury vs Madison

John Adams was leaving office, and Thomas Jefferson was entering it (as president). John Adams and his federalists, to balance Thomas and his Democratic-Republicans coming to power, appointed 42 justices of the peace and 16 circuit judges on his last day in office. While the commissions were signed and sealed by John Marshall, the current secretary of state, they were never delivered to the newly appointed justices. As a result, Thomas Jefferson claimed them invalid.
Writs of Mandamus
A (writ of) mandamus is an order from a court to an inferior government official ordering the government official to properly fulfill their official duties or correct an abuse of discretion.
The Organic Act
John Adams named 42 justices of the peace and 16 circuit judges. This was an attempt to secure federalist power before the Democrat-Republican party moved in with Thomas Jefferson.
John Adams vs. Thomas Jefferson
The Other Problems
John Adams and his Secretary of State had signed the justices commission
They did so before leaving office
Were the commissions valid?
Did the courts have the power to declare a congressional act null and void based on the constitution?
Was the Constitution the highest law, and could new laws that made new powers for government be passed?
The Judiciary Act of 1789
Established the lower courts
Gave the judicial branch more power than it had constitutionally
By suing, Marbury brought the case into the court's natural range of power. However, the Judiciary Act gave Marshall, the ruling supreme court judge, power to issue a writ of mandamus to force the executive branch to obey.
Judicial review
John Marshall couldn't force the executive branch w/ out making the courts look weak
The justices had a right to their commission
Struck down the Judiciary Act
Established Judiciary Review
Courts cannot issue writs of mandamus
What was the issue?
The Issues that Came Up
John Marshall's Solutions
Marbury vs Madison
Marbury vs. Madison
Marbury was one of the justices appointed by John Adams regime, and he still needed his job. He petitioned James Madison, the new secretary of state, to issue a writ of mandamus to overrule Jefferson's blocking of the courts. The main question that presented itself was "Who's job is it to interpret the constitution and declare acts of Congress unconstitutional?"
Library of Congress
The Midnight Judges
In the last hours of Adams presidency
"Lame-Duck session"
Final attempt to balance the new Democrat- Republican party
Judiciary Act of 1801
Full transcript