Marbury vs. Madison

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  • Since the Judiciary Act was passed, I guess I'll add some more judges to the court.
  • John Adams appointed judges who were to serve their duties until midnight on his last day in office. These judges were known as "midnight judges" for that very reason.
  • Don't deliver those papers, okay Madison?
  • Some of these commissions, however, had not been delivered. Thomas Jefferson told the Secretary of State, James Madison, not to deliver them.
  • Okay.
  • William Marbury was one of the people who did not get these commissions. Furious, he took his case directly to the Supreme Court. 
  • John Marshall, who was the Chief Justice at the time, had listen closely to what Marbury had to say. Marbury was trying super hard to get his papers, and tried doing so by demanding them and by force.
  • John Marshall, however, turned down Marbury's case. He explained that the Constitution did not give the Court permission to decide on the case. He set out three principles: 1. The Constitution is the law of the land. 2. When a conflict arises between the Constitution and any other law, the Constitution must be followed. 3. The judicial branch has a duty to uphold the Constitution. The courts must be able to find when a federal law conflicts with the Constitution and nullify it. By doing this, Marshall extended the power of the Court and broadened federal power for the states' expense.
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