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Unformatted text preview: Constitutional Law Outline Steven Shiffrin Fall Semester 2001 Essential cases covered in class. Relevant cases cited but not covered in class. I. Direct Protection for the Rights of Individuals A. Introduction  Marbury v. Madison (1803) pgs. 1-8. This case reflected the ongoing political struggle between outgoing President John Adams and the Federalists and President-elect Thomas Jefferson and the Republicans. Just before leaving office, Adams had appointed a number of new judges, including several justices of the peace for the District of Columbia. Their commissions had been signed by Adams but were not delivered before he left office. The Jefferson administration refused to honor the commissions that were not delivered before the end of Adams’ term. Procedural posture: William Marbury sought a writ of mandamus from the Supreme Court compelling Jefferson’s Secretary of State James Madison to deliver his commission. Holding: Justice Marshall, former President Madison’s Secretary of State, held 1) that Marbury and the other justices were entitled to their commissions because said commissions had been duly signed by the Secretary of State, 2) that Madison’s refusal to deliver the commissions was subject to review by the court because it was an act required by law, not a political act, and thus Marbury was entitled to seek a judicial remedy, and 3) that, although the Judiciary Act of 1789 explicitly authorized the Supreme Court to issue writs of mandamus, the Congressional authorization was in conflict with the Constitution (Article III, §2), according to which the Court lacked original jurisdiction in this case. Reasoning: The Court was granted original jurisdiction only in cases involving ambassadors, foreign consuls, and states (Article III), whereas in all other cases it was granted only appellate jurisdiction. Further, Marshall asserted that, in cases of conflict between a constitutional provision and a Congressional statute, the Supreme Court has the authority and the duty to declare the statute unconstitutional and to refuse to enforce it. Finally, Marshall argued that “the very purpose of a written constitution is to establish a fundamental and paramount law.” Thus it follows from this that “any act of the legislature repugnant to the Constitution must be void.” “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is.” Comments and criticism: 1) Why should the judiciary have this power rather than Congress? 2) The intent of the framers is unclear on this issue, but nowhere in the Constitution is it stated that...
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