Marbury v. Madison Supreme Court Decision


Marbury v. Madison Supreme Court Decision

1803 – Marbury v. Madison Supreme Court Decision

Marbury v. Madison Supreme Court Decision

Despite the fact that the Constitution of the United States calls for the creation and empowerment of a Supreme Court, the Court had played a minor role in the development of the country during the earliest years of its existence. At the end of John Adams’ term as president, he appointed a man named William Marbury as a judicial officer in Washington, D.C. He assigned his secretary of state, James Madison, to deliver the official appointment to Marbury, but Madison refused to do so. In response, Marbury sued Madison in the Supreme Court for the right to his commission. Ultimately, the Court decided that Marbury could not legally challenge Madison in the Supreme Court, and so Marbury was not given a legal victory. However, the Court found the law by which Marbury sued Madison to be illegal itself, and as such, the Court struck down the law. This practice became known as judicial review. Although the power of judicial review had not been listed in the Constitution, the Court, as the interpreter of the Constitution, had the ability to issue itself this power, meaning that only by Constitutional Amendment could the ruling be overturned.

This case was named Marbury v. Madison and stands as one of the most momentous decisions in the history of the Supreme Court. This precedent of judicial review has become one of the most important functions of the Supreme Court today, as it allows the Court to have oversight of the laws passed by the legislative and executive branches of government.


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