The 1803 Marbury V. Madison case presented to the Supreme Court was one of the most critical cases that shaped America's history. The Supreme Court utilized the case in defining its power and legitimacy as a branch of the government with co-equal authority as that of the Congress and the President. It was through this case that the court pointed out that they had the power to declare an act of Congress void if it was inconsistent with the stipulations in the constitution.
According to Manson et. al (60), the case involved the numerous justices of peace appointments made by President John Adams in attempt to exert his influence before he left office. When President Thomas Jefferson who succeeded him took office, his Secretary of State James Madison after consulting him decided not to deliver the letters of commissions to the appointed judges, thus denying them work. William Marbury who was one of the appointees appointed by President Adam filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court seeking a Writ of Mandamus. The Writ of Mandamus is a court order that directs a government official to act by the law (Manson et. al 60). In the case presented by Marbury, it would have served as a direct order form the court to the Secretary of State informing him to deliver the appointments. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court under the stewardship of Chief Justice John Marshall unanimously denied the petition and refused to give Marbury the Writ of Mandamus.
The court argued that despite the fact that Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 allowed the provision of such writs, the judges could not give Marbury what he wanted since they did not have the original jurisdiction over the case. In accordance with the constitution under Article III, the Marbury's case was not one of the cases that have original jurisdiction thus it would be unconstitutional for the court to give a ruling over the case (Murphy, 245). The original jurisdiction stated the type of cases that can be directly fielded at the Supreme Court thus limiting the number of cases heard by the nine judges of the Supreme Court. However, Chief Justice Marshall acknowledged that petitioner was entitled to the commission. The court also ruled that it had the Constitutional power of striking down any unconstitutional law enforced by the Congress or the President. Thus clarifying that the court had the authority of ensuring the Congress does not pass any law that contradicts the stipulations in the Constitution and the President does not have the power to bend the law while carrying out the lawful decisions executed by their predecessors.
In conclusion, the most important effect of the 1803 Marbury V. Madison case was on the nature of the United States government. This case enabled the Supreme Court to have the power of judicial review since the court affirmed that they had the right to declare some of the laws passed by the Congress to be unconstitutional. If it were not for that case, America would be governed by a system that would give the Congress and Presidents the power to pass laws without the consent of the judicial branch of the government. This act would have limited individuals' freedom of speech thus promoting actions such as racial segregation.
Mason, Alpheus Thomas, and Grier Stephenson. American constitutional law: introductory essays and selected cases. Routledge, 2015.Murphy, Walter F. Congress and the Court: A case study in the American political process.
Vol.24. Quid Pro Books, 2014.
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