Marbury v. Madison: The Court’s Ruling

2012-09-12 08:34:00 by admin

Marbury v. Madison

Marbury v. Madison: Facts of the Case

The Court rendered its unanimous judgment on February 24, 1803. Chief Justice John Marshall, the same person who was acting secretary of state under President Adams, wrote the opinion for the Court. Essentially, Marshall held that while Madison should have delivered the commission to Marbury, the Supreme Court did not have the authority to issue the requested writ of mandamus. While it was true that Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 gave the Court the authority to issue writs of mandamus, the Court found that by including Section 13 in the Act, Congress exceeded the authority allotted to the Court under Article 3 of the Constitution. The Court ruled that Congress did not have the authority to modify the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction as defined in the Constitution.

Although Marbury never became a justice of the peace in the District of Columbia, his case gave the Supreme Court an opportunity to establish its power to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional, with extensive consequences.