Marbury v. Madison: The Most Important Supreme Court Case

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Storyboard Description

This storyboard is about the famous Marbury v. Madison case and the powers it established that the Supreme Court had.

Storyboard Text

  • Thomas Jefferson, a Democratic-Republican, beat John Adams in the presidential election of 1800. Congress would also have a majority of Democratic-Republicans in 1801 because of the election of 1800.
  • However, John Adams had a plan.
  • Using the lame-duck Congress that for now is still Federalist, I will pass the Judiciary Act of 1801 which will create several new federal court positions. I will appoint Federalists to the job, including William Marbury who can become a justice of the peace in Washington, D.C.
  • Yay! I've always wanted to be a judge!
  • When Thomas Jefferson moved into the White House, he saw all of these undelivered commissions to appoint judges.
  • This is an outrage of decency. I can't believe Adams would try to do this when I have already been elected. I will just tell my Secretary of State, James Madison, not to deliver them.
  • Supreme Court, I believe that Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 gives you the power to make federal officials perform their official duties which includes delivering my commission.
  • While I agree that Marbury has a right to his commission, the section of the Judiciary Act of 1789 that he cited is unconstitutional because it gives the Supreme Court powers not mentioned in the Constitution. Therefore, I cannot order Madison to deliver Marbury's commission.
  • After much deliberation, Chief Justice John Marshall made his decision.
  • Marbury did not get to be a judge. However, the case Marbury v. Madison, established that the Supreme Court could declare laws unconstitutional, called judicial review. This completed the system of checks and balances because the President and Congress have to keep within the law, interpreted by the powers of the judiciary branch.
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