Marbury versus Madison was a case in the year 1803. It was a landmark case, which was decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. The presiding judge was called John Marshall. This was the case that formed the Judicial Review of the U.S. It helped to separate the judicial and executive branches of the government of America. This case was a consequence of William Marbury petitioning the Supreme Court. Mr. Marbury had been appointed by then President John Adams to be the Justice of Peace in Columbia. President John Adams named a controversial forty-two justices of peace. This was under an act called The Organic Act. It was an attempt the Federalists to control the federal judiciary before the taking of office of Thomas Jefferson. However, his commission was not delivered. He therefore petitioned the Supreme Court to force the then Secretary of State James Madison to deliver the required document.
The chief Justice (John Marshall) firstly found that Mr. Madison’s refusal to deliver those documents was both remediable and illegal. Nevertheless, the court did not compel him to hand over Mr. Marbury’s commission (by writ of mandamus). Instead, it held an act called Judiciary Act which was made in 1789. This enabled Marbury to take his claim to the Supreme Court. Apparently, that was unconstitutional itself. This is because it extended the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction beyond the one that was in Article 3 (Murbary Vs Madison). Hence, the petition was denied. Mr. William Marbury applied directly under Supreme Court of the United States for writ of mandamus to force Jefferson’s Secretary of State James to deliver the specified commissions.
The petitioner wanted a number of prayers granted. For starters, was Marbury within his rights to commission? Chief justice Marshall forwarded the order that granted the commission should have effected its mandated immediately when the powers of the executive of appointing were exercised. He further stated that the power was exercised when the act that required the person who possessed power had performed. When the president signed into law, the commission’s prayers were granted. The second prayer examined whether Marbury had a remedy in the law. To this, the Chief Justice said that there was. He added that civil liberty was a constitutional right that grants every individual the right to the protection of the laws when he or she gets an injury (Fletcher & Sheppard). Thus, one of the government’s functions is to grant this protection. This brings into question whether this duty is entrenched in the law or not. Nevertheless, the individual himself should know whether or not he or she has been injured or otherwise. Consequently, when President Adams signed into law the commission, it was a testimony that the commission had legal right to office.
Another very important question to ask in this petition was whether the Supreme Court had authority to review acts of Congress and whether they were unconstitutional hence void. The judge answered yes to this. The Supreme Court had powers and authority to review these acts. In addition, was congress able to expand the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court’s mandate beyond that which was specified in Article 3. Congress could not expand the mandate of the Supreme Court. The constitution states that the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court had only the mandate specified in article 3. All the cases affecting public ministers, consuls and ambassadors shall be decided by the state.
Finally, it was an essential criterion of the jurisdiction that it revises and correct proceedings in cases already instituted. Thus, a mandamus was directed to courts. The issue of writ to an officer in effect was the same as the original.
Murbary Vs Madison retrived on 5th October, 2013 from http://www.lawnix.com/cases/marbury-madison.html
Fletcher, George P.& Sheppard, Steve American Law in Global Perspective: The Basics. Oxford University Press. 2004. Print