Marbury vs. Madison
In the 1800 election, the Federalists lost both the Presidency and control of the Congress. The Federalists passed the Judiciary Act of 1801, in the final months during which they still maintained control of Congress. This Judiciary Act created 6 circuit courts and 16 new judgeships, along with a number of other judicial appointments.
William Marbury was one of the people appointed to a judgeship in the last days of Federalist power. He was appointed a justice of the peace for the District of Columbia. His commission, however, was never delivered. When Jefferson became President, he instructed Secretary of State Madison not to deliver the commission.
Marbury then decided to sue in hopes of keeping his job. The opinion for the court was written by Chief Justice John Marshall. Marshall faced a dilemma as he began to determine his decision. If it ruled in favor of Marbury, it would no doubt be defied by the administration. If it ruled against Marbury, however, it would be admitting that the Court had no power.
John Marshall found the political middle. His decision ruled against Marbury on a technicality. On the other hand, he ruled that the judiciary had the right and responsibility to decide what was and what was not constitutional. This opinion established the power of judicial review. Judicial review is the court’s authority to declare laws unconstitutional. The decision of Marbury vs. Madison marked the first time the United States Supreme Court ruled a law unconstitutional.
... Marbury his court order. It was the first time the Court openly declared an act of Congress unconstitutional. The Court ruled that Congress exceeded its power ... the Court and would have thought that it was acting outside its jurisdiction. Justice Marshall stated that the power ... Marbury v. Madison The issue before the Supreme Court was the question of the courts own constitutional authority, and to ...