Case in which the supreme court first asserted the power of Judicial review in finding that the congressional statue expanding the Court's original jurisdiction was unconstitutional
First Supreme Court Case dealing with the concept of Judicial Review -- the power of federal courts to void acts of Congress in conflict with the Constitution. First time the Supreme Court declared something unconstitutional.
What is judicial review and why was the decision important?
Judicial Review is the power of the Court to declare Acts of Congress Constitutional or Unconstitutional. It made the Supreme Court a separate branch of government on par with Congress and the executive.
Chief Justice: John Marshall
When did the case happen?
What happened to cause the problem?
At the end of John Adams' term as President, several commissions were issued naming people "Justice of the Peace". The Judges selected were largely Federalist like Adams, in an attempt to maintain a Federalist presence in the Government. But Thomas Jefferson was not Federalist and had been elected President and the House and Senate lost Federalist majority.
Why did Marbury file his case?
His "commission" was not delivered to him by the time Jefferson was in office, but he believed since he had been selected that the new administration, (James Madison was Secretary of State) should send it to him.
How many were not fully finalized and delivered?
Four of Adams' commissions were not fully finalized or "delivered" prior to the end of Adams term.
What happened as soon as Jefferson was in office?
When Jefferson took office, the four newly established Judges requested that their commissions be honored by the new President and Congress. Madison (and Jefferson) refused.
Why did Jefferson deny them?
Jefferson didn't want more Federalist judges so he denied their approval. William Marbury was one of the Federalist Judges named.
Where did Marbury file suit?
The Supreme Court in order to compel Jefferson's Secretary of State, James Madison, to deliver the commisions. Based on Judiciary Act of1789, Marbury asked the Supreme Court for a "writ of mandamus" or an order to act.
What did the Judiciary Act of 1789 say?
Spelled out the practice of delivering such commissions for judges and justices of the peace and that the Supreme Court original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus.
What is a writ of mandamus?
What were the legal issues and the decisions?
Does Marbury have a right to the commission? (YES)
Does the law grant Marbury a remedy? (YES)
Can the Court review acts of Congress? (YES)
Can the Supreme Court expand the scope of the Constitution? (NO)
Can the Supreme Court issue a writ of mandamus for Marbury? (NO)
Why does Marbury have a right to the commission?
The grant of the commission to Marbury became effective when signed by President Adams because he exercised his power as president.
How does the law grant Marbury a remedy?
SC said the very essence of civil liberty certainly consists in the right of every individual to claim the protection of the laws whenever he receives an injury.
Can the Supreme Court Review Acts of Congress?
Yes.The Supreme Court has the authority to review acts of Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional and therefore void.
It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is.
Can the Supreme Court expand the scope of the Constitution?
Congress cannot expand the scope of the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction beyond what is specified in Article III of the Constitution.
Can the Supreme Court issue a writ of mandamus for Marbury as it says in the Judiciary Act of 1789?
No. The Supreme Court does not have original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus because of the SC jurisdiction specified in the constitution. So the Act of 1789 is unconstitutional.
Why was the Judiciary Act of 1789 created by Congress found unconstitutional?
Because it the gave the Supreme Court authority that was denied it by Article III of the Constitution. Thus, the Supreme Court said, the Judiciary Act of 1789 was illegal and not to be followed.
What was the most critical Holding (decision)?
Chief Justice Marshall decided that it was plain from the reading of the Constitution that the Judiciary MUST be permitted to declare acts of the Constitution as unconstitutional to preserve the system of checks and balances established by the document. SO this gave the court power of "Judicial Review".
Why was the concept of judicial review as a Supreme Court function important?
Through this holding (decision), Marbury established the concept of "judicial review", now the Supreme Court's most critical function. It made the SC an equal branch of government-- EQUAL to congress and to the President and can say if something is unconstitutional.
Why is this so important today?
Without judicial review, no laws made by Congress would be subject to review. Congress would have too much power.
Did Marbury get his commission?
No, because he went to the SC because of the Act of 1789 so he could get them to order the act, and the SC said this was an unconstitutional act even though the SC also said that Marbury was right to get the commission because the president (Adams) exercised his powers as president before Jefferson entered office.