AMERICAN GOV. SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS FINAL.docx - SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS STEF B Explain the case Marbury vs Madison what was the implication of the case

AMERICAN GOV. SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS FINAL.docx - SHORT...

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SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS STEF B. Explain the case Marbury vs. Madison. what was the implication of the case? Give the principle background (aka what happened, why did it go to the supreme court). Now, discuss the broader implication; discuss judicial review. SUMMARY Marbury v. Madison, legal case in which, on February 24, 1803, the U.S. Supreme Court first declared an act of Congress unconstitutional, thus establishing the doctrine of judicial review. The court’s opinion, written by Chief Justice John Marshall, is considered one of the foundations of U.S. constitutional law. BACKGROUND What Happened ? In the weeks before Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration as president in March 1801, the lame-duck Federalist Congress created 16 new circuit judgeships (in the Judiciary Act of 1801) and an unspecified number of new judgeships (in the Organic Act), which Adams proceeded to fill with Federalists in an effort to preserve his party’s control of the judiciary and to frustrate the legislative agenda of Jefferson and his Republican (Democratic-Republican) Party. Because he was among the last of those appointments (the so-called “midnight appointments”), William Marbury, a Federalist Party leader from Maryland, did not receive his commission before Jefferson became president. Once in office, Jefferson directed his secretary of state, James Madison, to withhold the commission, and Marbury petitioned the Supreme Court to issue a writ of mandamus (A formal issue that commands an official to perform a specific act within the duty of the office) to compel Madison to act. But formality or not, without the actual piece of parchment, Marbury could not enter into the duties of office. Despite Jefferson’s hostility, the court agreed to hear the case, Marbury v. Madison, in its February 1803 term. The issue directly presented by Marbury v. Madison can only be described as minor. By the time the court heard the case, the wisdom of Jefferson’s desire to reduce the number of justices of the peace had been confirmed (and the Judiciary Act of 1801 had been repealed); Marbury’s original term was almost half over; and most people, Federalists and Republicans alike, considered the case to be moot. But Marshall, despite the political difficulties involved, recognized that he had a perfect case with which to expound a basic principle, judicial review, which would secure the Supreme Court’s primary role in constitutional interpretation. Why did it go directly to the US Supreme Court ? Because it had original jurisdiction. Meaning it involved federal law. The federal court has the right to hear it first. BROADER IMPLICATION By asserting the power to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional (which the court would not exercise again for more than half a century), Marshall claimed for the court a paramount position as interpreter of the Constitution.
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