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Marbury vs. Madison
external image 350px-Plaque_of_Marbury_v._Madison_at_SCOTUS_Building.JPGBackground to the Marbury v. Madison Case
The case of Marbury versus Madison began in 1802 when William Marbury sued James Madison for not delivering a commission to him that would have made him the Justice of peace in the District of Columbia. In 1800, Thomas Jefferson beat out John Adams for seat of President of the United States. Since Adams was a Federalist and Jefferson was a Republican-Democrat, Adams made several moves to keep the Federalists in power though Jefferson's term. Adams made a series of moves called the "Midnight Appointments" to try to put federalists in seats of power. One of the appointments was of a man named William Marbury to the seat of Justice of Peace in the District of Colombia. Since Adams made these appointments the night before Thomas Jefferson was sworn in, all of the commissions announcing the appointments couldn't be delivered before Jefferson began his presidency. So, when Jefferson came into office he ordered James Madison, who was delivering the commissions, to not deliver the rest so the appointees couldn't assume office. Then, William Marbury decided to sue James Madison for not delivering him the commission. The case went to the Supreme Court where Marbury asked the court to give Madison a Writ of Mandamus which would force Madison to give Marbury the commission.
Constitutional Significance of the Case- This case involved article III section 2 as to whether the Supreme Court can determine whether a law passed by Congress is constitutional.
Decision/Precedent Set by this Case- The decision on the case was that Marbury should have gotten the commission. But, the judiciary acts appointing Marbury were unconstitutional. This was the first time the Supreme Court had declared a Congressional Act unconstitutional. It made it so that the Supreme Court has the authority to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional. Also known as Judidcial review.


-Article III of the Constitution- Established the judicial branch of the US Government

- Original Jurisditcion- The court that gets to hear the case first.
-Writ of Mandamus- Order from an upper court to a governement official to preform a mandatory duty.
- Justice of the Peace- A judicial officer who is elected or appointed by means of commision and is instructed to maintain the peace within a certain boundary
-Unconstitutional- When a Supreme Court rules that the crime that has been done, violates the laws of the Constitution. ( Marbury vs. Madison was the first case where the Supreme Court ever ruled anything unconstitutional.
-Judicial Review- The Supreme Court's power to review acts of Congress and to deny it as unconstitutional.