The landmark case of Marbury v. Madison.

Essay by imaGe November 2005

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The decision in this case took two weeks to decide weather Marbury was allowed to receive commission from Madison. It was a unanimous decision of 4-0.The chief justice finally decided that Marbury had a legal right to receive the commission. However, when Marbury requested for a court to order Madison to deliver his commission it was rejected. The reason for this is the Judiciary Act of 1789, which states that if the Supreme Court issues a writ of mandamus (court order) it is unconstitutional.

The Marbury vs. Madison case was one of the first cases for the Supreme Court. The issue started prior to the case when John Adams' presidency was coming to an end. Adams decided to appoint 58 members of his own party to fill government positions, this way the government will favor his side in the future. However, Marshall, former Secretary of State failed to deliver 17 commissions to the new appointees.

That means the new presidents Secretary of State was thought to finish the job, which at this time was James Madison. But when the newly elected president, Jefferson, came into office, he told Madison not to deliver some of the commissions. Jefferson did not want opposing political parties to take office. One of the applicants, William Marbury did not receive his commission and he sued James Madison and asked the Supreme Court to issue Madison to deliver the commission.

The issue was decided and the majority of the opinion stated that Marbury should receive the commission. To support this the court found that his commission was signed by the president and sealed by the secretary of state. To withhold the commission would violate the law, such as Madison did. The next decision to make was weather to give Marbury a legal remedy. The...