1. The 1803 case Marbury v. Madison was a landmark case that was essential to the current powers of the Supreme Court (Marbury v. Madison, 1803). The two major principles that were developed in its holding was the power of interpretation and judicial review. In delivering the opinion of the Court denying Marbury his claim the Secretary of State Madison was required to deliver his appointment to serve as judge, Chief Justice John Marshall stated that the primary responsibility of the Court was to interpret the law and that no other branch had this authority. In addition, Marshall also argued that through interpreting the Constitution, the Court also had the authority and duty to review the laws and actions of the President and the Congress to determine whether or not they violated the Constitution. This authority would later become known as the power of judicial review. Marshall found this power under Article III of the Constitution which states in relevant part that “in all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be a party, the Supreme Court will have original jurisdiction.” (Marbury v Madison, 1803). According to this, Marshall pointed out that Congress’ attempt to give the Court expanded original jurisdiction, or the times when a plaintiff can begin a case in the Supreme Court, over cases involving judges was invalid because the Constitution, simply did not allow it. Consequently, the law that Congress passed to implement the expansion of jurisdiction was invalid and therefore Marbury did not have a cause of action, at least in the Supreme Court.
2. In order for a court to make use of its the authority to interpret the Constitution and power of judicial review, a case must be properly before it. The Supreme Court, however, has interpreted the Constitution to say that not every case can or should be heard by a court. Consequently, the Court established five principles of justiciability or the circumstances under which a court is permitted to hear a case or a controversy. Accordingly, a court can only hear a case when: (1) the plaintiff has standing or a definite stake in the outcome of the case as illustrated by the existence of a harm or injury that was the result of the defendant’s actions which can be resolved by a decision of the court; (2) the issue that forms the basis of the case is ripe or the harm or injury has already been suffered by the plaintiff or will occur if the issues is not immediately resolved; (3) the issue is not moot or already determined; (4) the issue is not a political question or an issues that the Constitution makes clear is a duty or responsibility of another branch of the government; and (5) the court is not being asked to answer an advisory opinion or an opinion that does not resolve a specific threat or harm.
3. When a case is properly brought before a court, it can, as mentioned use its powers to determine whether the law is question is valid or not. In order to do this the court compares to the law to the Constitution. As the supreme law of the land, the Constitution is the ultimate measuring stick. If in comparing the law to the Constitution, it is found to be contrary to, inconsistent with or in opposition of the clear words of the document or its interpretation as put forth by the Court; then the law is deemed invalid. This is because nothing can supersede that Constitution.
Marbury v. Madison 5 U.S. 137 (1803). Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/5/137