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Marbury V. Madison - Case Summary and Case Brief

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Judicial History: William Marbury filed for a writ of mandamus with the United States Supreme Court to direct Secretary of State James Madison in delivering the commission of Marbury as Justice of the Peace for the District of Columbia in the county of Washington.

Facts: In 1801 Congress passed an act separating the District of Columbia into two districts with the Justice of the Peace to be appointed by the President of the United States. President John Adams signed a commission for Marbury as a Justice of the Peace for the county of Washington during the last days of his presidency that earned the seal of the United States bind to it. Madison declined to remit the commission to Marbury believing they were null as they were not conveyed in advance of the Adams Presidency. Marbury filed for a writ of mandamus with the United States Supreme Court beneath the Judiciary Act of 1789 to award his commission.

Issues: Does the Supreme Court have the legality of Judicial Review, does Marbury have a right to the commission he orders and did the Supreme Court have the right to grant a writ of mandamus?

Holdings: It has been decided that Marbury has a right to his commission and a remedy. The Supreme Court can analyze the law to approve the laws acknowledge by the constitution and the constitution does not give the Supreme Court the right in this case.

Reasoning: Even though the President at the time did designate him a justice of peace for the county of Washington, it did not verify and consequently the action did not finish. The indicated clash between federal law and the Constitution granted the Supreme Court to establish its first example of being able to act on Judicial Review and the power to rule a law not constitutional.

“To enable this court then to issue a mandamus, it must be shown to be an exercise of appellate jurisdiction, or to be necessary to enable them to exercise appellate jurisdiction. It has been stated at the bar that the appellate jurisdiction may be exercised in a variety of forms, and that, if it be the will of the Legislature that a mandamus should be used for that purpose that must be obeyed. This is true; yet the jurisdiction must be appellate, not original.”

Although a writ of mandamus would be an appropriate remedy in this situation, the Supreme Court is not able to grant this. The Supreme Court ruled the Judiciary Act of 1789 as not constitutional; they do not have the jurisdiction hearing the case. Granting a mandamus would be constructing the case instead of editing the rulings of preceding courts and this is not an area of jurisdiction admitted to the Supreme Court by Article three of the constitution.

Decision: Rule discharged.

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Marbury v. Madison – case summary and case brief. (2019, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 7, 2023, from
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