Sunday, March 25, 2012

Marbury v. Madison case brief

Marbury v. Madison

established judiciary’s power to declare federal legislation unconstitutional.

Facts: P appointed Justice of the Peace for D.C., but afterwards Jefferson ordered none of the commissions to be given to those judges who had not yet received them. As a result, Marbury did not receive his commission.
  1. Whether P had a right to the commission. The court said he did.
  2. Whether the laws provide a remedy for Marbury.
  3. If he had sought the proper remedy of a writ of mandamus (order to a public official to perform their nondiscretionary duties), was the Supreme Court the proper venue?
  • The key issue of the case was whether the SC had jurisdiction to adjudicate the lawsuit. The court said that the SC was not the appropriate venue because §13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 was unconstitutional. Said that the court could not expand the jurisdiction under Article III.
Holding: If the SC identifies a conflict b/w a constitutional provision and a congressional statute, the court has the authority and duty to declare the statute unconstitutional and to refuse to enforce it. The SC can interpret the laws.
Rationale: Marshall said that 1) when a conflict b/w a statute and a Constitution arises, the SC power of judicial review is essential; 2) gov’t is one of limited powers—need to delineate the powers, otherwise, the gov’t is unlimited; 3) distinction b/w one w/limited powers and unlimited powers is meaningless w/o judicial review; 4) judicial review is essential in a Constitution giving limited and defined powers, “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is”, 5) somebody has to put limits on Congress b/c Congress won’t, 6) ju

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