The current paper examines one of the most influential court cases in American history – Marbury v. Madison (1803). Marbury issued a writ of mandamus to the Supreme Court that should have forced Madison to take legal action concerning the commissions of new judges. The lawsuit focused on three questions – the right to commission, the right to remedy in case of violation, and the issue of presenting a mandamus (“Marbury v. Madison,” n.d.). The court agreed on the first and second questions but decided that the third issue was fundamentally unconstitutional. In other words, the Chief Justice – John Marshall – concluded that the Constitution should have actual legal power instead of abstract principles about justice. As a result, the examined court case reinforced the authority of the Constitution and modified the judicial system in the United States.
While Marbury v. Madison (1803) is an immensely significant court ruling for the American legal system, I would say that one of the shortcomings was the tense relationship between the Supreme Court and the government. As mentioned in the reading, the case was primarily about power politics between parties and not actual commissions. As a result, the Supreme Court proved its authority and the significance of the Constitution, but it also questioned the presidential power.
Some of the questions that the reading raised for me are:
- Why was the American Constitution recognized as a set of abstract guidelines and not the actual law before the court ruling, despite the importance of the Constitution to American citizens?
- What is the role of the executive branch of the federal government in the judicial process?
- What was the impact of separating the executive and judicial branches of the federal government through the court ruling?
Marbury v. Madison. (n.d.). FindLaw.