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The Case Of Marbury V. Madison

1154 words - 5 pages

The case of Marbury v. Madison centers on a case brought before the Supreme Court by William Marbury. Shortly after Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams in the election of 1800, Congress increased the number of circuit courts. Adams sought to fill these new vacancies with people who had Federalist backgrounds. To accomplish this, he used the powers granted under the Organic Act to issue appointments to 42 justices of the peace and 16 circuit court justices for the District of Columbia. Adams signed the appointments on his last day in office and they were subsequently sealed by Secretary of State John Marshall. However, many of the appointments were not delivered before Adams left office ...view middle of the document...

The judiciary has the duty to interpret the law and determine if a law violates any part of the Constitution. In such cases, the Constitution is the ultimate authority and the law voided. The next question was whether Congress could expand, beyond the specifications outlined in Article III of the Constitution, the scope of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction. The Court found that Congress does not have the authority to expand the Court’s original jurisdiction beyond what is specifically given it in Article III. The last question centers on whether the Supreme Court as the original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus. The Court decided that it did not have this jurisdiction. In order to issue a writ of mandamus, the Court may only exercise appellate jurisdiction in an existing case.
The Court’s final decision was unanimous and it denied Marbury’s request for the writ of mandamus. Marbury never received his appointment. This case is significant because it established the concept of judicial review. The Constitution does not specifically grant the judiciary this power. Judicial review allows federal courts to review laws and determine if they are constitutional or not. This gives the judiciary the power to void any laws that are found to violate any part of the Constitution. Therefore, Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that the portion of the Judiciary Act of 1789 that gave the federal courts the authority to hear mandamus cases was unconstitutional. Ironically, Chief Justice Marshall is the person who was the Secretary of State under Adams that sealed Marbury’s appointment.
McCulloch v. Maryland is a case brought before the Supreme Court that involved a cashier at the Baltimore branch of the Bank of the United States. The Second Bank of the United States was established following a Congressional act in 1816. This caused a problem in Maryland because the state had passed a law requiring all banks operating within Maryland that were not chartered by the state had to pay tax in order to operate. The law also required banks to use stamped paper provided by the state to issue bank notes. McCulloch had issued bank notes from the Bank of the United States in Baltimore in violation of the Maryland law. He was subsequently sued by Maryland for his failure to pay the required taxes. Maryland was victorious in its case filed in state court, but McCulloch challeneged the constitutionality of Maryland’s law and appealed his case to the Supreme...

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