John Marshall, Supreme Court Justice, created legal precedence in the historical case, Marbury v. Madison in 1803. Throughout history he is portrayed as the fountainhead of judicial review. Marshall asserted the right of the judicial branch of government to void legislation it deemed unconstitutional, (Lemieux, 2003). In this essay, I will describe the factual circumstances and the Supreme Court holdings explaining the reasoning behind Chief Justice Marshall’s conclusions in the case, Marbury v. Madison. Furthermore, I will evaluate whether the doctrine of judicial review is consistent with the Constitution and analysis the positive effects of the doctrine in American politics.
The Constitution confers judicial power on the Supreme Court and on inferior courts as created by congress, (Hames & Ekern, 2013). Judicial review is the power of the court to interpret the Constitution and invalidate conflicting laws. Specifically, in the case Marbury v. Madison, President Adams working with a lame duck congress, hurriedly passed the Judiciary Act of 1801 in order to appoint judges supportive to federalist concepts before the end of his presidential term. President Adams appointed judges late into the evening on the 3rd of March, described as the “midnight judges.” Unfortunately, four of the judges commissioned did not receive their commissions from James Madison, Secretary of State, by midnight. Thomas Jefferson assumed the presidential office on the 4th of March, and refused to deliver the commissions. William Marbury, one of the four judges who did not receive his commission filed suit and petitioned the court. Marbury requested the court by means of a writ of mandamus, force Madison t...
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...courts to interpret the Constitution and affirmed the power of judicial review. The power of judicial review averted the judiciary branch of the inherent weakness and lack of equality in power among the three branches of government. The independence of the Supreme Court is paramount in protecting the civil liberties granted to citizens. The judicial power afforded by means of the doctrine of judicial review is not superior or above the other two branches of government. The Supreme Court’s duty is to nullify legislative acts contrary to the Constitution. Hamilton expounds the power of the courts in the Federalist Papers No. 78, “it only supposes that the power of the people is superior to both”, and judges should regulate their decisions by the fundamental laws, (Hamilton, 2008). The Supreme Court’s duty is to nullify legislative acts contrary to the Constitution.
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