ARTICLE - Marbury v. Madison, 200th Anniversary

ARTICLE - Marbury v. Madison, 200th Anniversary - LW270...

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LW270 Journal: Marbury v. Madison From the desk of Prof. Katherine Wears: This is a link to an article about the case Marbury vs. Madison. It is an older article, but still timely. For your entry consider one or more of the following questions. Q : Should the constitution be ". .. interpreted and molded to achieve important societal and institutional goals. .."? Q : Should the judiciary have a monopoly on constitutional interpretation? Q : Do you support the theories of "originalists"? Q : Why or why not? Q : Do you think judicial review restrains democracy? The 200th Anniversary of Marbury v. Madison: The Reasons We Should Still Care About the Decision, and The Lingering Questions It Left Behind By JOEL B. GROSSMAN Monday, Feb. 24, 2003 Today, February 24th, 2003, marks the 200th anniversary of an extraordinary legal event: the Supreme Court's decision in the case of Marbury v. Madison . There, the Court - in an opinion authored by Chief Justice John Marshall - ruled that it was not bound by an act of Congress that was "repugnant to the Constitution." William Rehnquist has described Marbury as "the most famous case ever decided by the United States Supreme Court." But, at the time it was issued, neither Marshall nor his chief adversary (and cousin), Thomas Jefferson, could have imagined the further growth and acceptance of the power of judicial review that Marbury declared. But why should we still care about this decision? . Marbury's Context: A Feud Between Political Factions The formal dispute that the case resolved was itself of minor significance. It was an issue of political patronage, pitting the ascendant Jeffersonians against the (soontobe) departing Federalists. The simmering feud between them was intense. The case can only be understood against the background of the election of 1800, in which Thomas Jefferson defeated the incumbent president, John Adams, and his Democrat-Republican party also gained control of the Congress. In those days, there was a long lame duck period between the November election and the inauguration of a new president. And the Congress that met in December 1800 was the old Congress. So the Federalists still controlled the government until March 4, 1801. Adams appointed John Marshall as Secretary of State, and then appointed him also as Chief Justice of the United States when that position became vacant. The Federalist-dominated Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1801, which created circuit courts of appeal much like they are today, and relieved the justices of the Supreme Court of their obligation to "ride circuit." It also increased the jurisdiction of the federal courts. Adams immediately appointed 16 new judges to these courts--all Federalists--and all were confirmed by the Senate.
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LW270 Journal: Marbury v. Madison On February 27, 1801, just days before Jefferson was to take office, Congress passed another bill. The Justice of the Peace Act provided Adams with the opportunity to appoint 42 justices of
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ARTICLE - Marbury v. Madison, 200th Anniversary - LW270...

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