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Legal Brief of Marbury v. Madison 1 Cranch (5 U.S.) 137; 2L. Ed. 60 (1803)

The facts of the case are these: Mr. Marbury was commissioned as justice of the peace in the District of Columbia by then President John Adams at the very end of his term. However when the new administration came into office they didn’t deliver the commission. This prompted Mr. Marbury to sue James Madison, President Jefferson’s Secretary of State. These are the facts of the case, and the court must rule on them.


    The main issues in this case are these: Does a former administrations’ commission require the new administration to deliver on the commission? Does the Supreme Court have the authority under the Constitution to force the delivery of the commission?


    The decision of the Court was by a 4-0 decision. Chief Justice John Marshall held that, “although Marbury was entitled to the commission, the statue that was the basis of the particular remedy sought was unconstitutional because it gave the Supreme Court authority that was implicitly denied it by Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution. This decision established the doctrine of judicial review, which recognizes the authority of courts to declare statues unconstitutional.


    Chief Justice John Marshall delivered the opinion of the court. The opinion of the court gave the Supreme Court of the United States the ability to perform Judicial Review; they have the authority due to this case.


    There was no dissent due to the 4-0 decision. However, Justice Cushing and Justice Moore did not participate in this decision.


    This case is one of the most significant cases in U.S. History. This sole case allowed the Supreme Court the authority to define the Constitution and interpret it i.e. Judicial Review.


Legal Brief by David A.W. Hittle September 1, 2010


Some opinion received from: www.constitution.org, other information gathered from www.infoplease.com.