Madison or Marbury: A Judicial Dilemma
By, Robert Y. Sayegh
There have been many occasions in history were judicial review has been used in the Supreme Court, but perhaps the most important occasion is Marbury vs. Madison. As President Adams was preparing to leave office, he was appointing new justices to the Judicial Branch of the U.S. Government, but Secretary of State Marshall and his staff did not mail the appointment letters to the appointees and one of the appointees, William Marbury, wanted his job as Justice of the Peace. Thus, the case of Madison vs. Marbury was sent to the Supreme Court for Marshall to preside over.
As Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Marshall could have ruled in favor of Marbury. If Marshall had ruled the case in Marbury's favor and issued the writ of mandamus, it would have been a victory for the Federalist Party, which was out of power at the time. They would have won the case that is arguably the most important case of the century even though Marbury would not be appointed Justice of the Peace. But the consequences for Marshall as Supreme Court Justice would have been severe. Issuing the writ would have been the opposite of what Jefferson and the people of the United States wanted, "it might even trigger impeachment proceedings against Marshall that…would destroy him and reduce the court to servility." (Garraty 169) Marshall decided that the consequences of ruling the case in Marbury's favor outweighed the benefits, so he had to consider other options.
Marshall could have ruled this case in Madison's favor and taken many personal benefits out of the case from Jefferson. Jefferson would have taken a...