Marbury V. Madison

Lindsey and Alex


At the end of John Adams presidency, he made several federal appointments. One of these appointments was William Marbury to be the justice of peace in Washington D.C. However, when Thomas Jefferson became president, he refused to appoint Marbury of this position. Marbury felt that because Adams had appointed him he still had the right to the position. James Madison however, did not feel this way. Because of this, Marbury sued Jefferson's secretary of State, James Madison. This lead to the case being taken to the Supreme Court.


Marbury V. Madison


John Marshall, the Chief Justice noted that the Judiciary Act of 1789 stated that the power given to the supreme court to decide the positions of the judges and justices of peace was unconstitutional because it gave the Supreme court too much authority and it conflicted with Article III Section 2 of the Constitution. Therefore the act is invalid, and Marbury would not be appointed justice of peace. Also, a president cannot appoint candidates right before his term ends for another president. the next president has the right to review the case and decide whether he wants the said person to be appointed.


This case was the first time that the Supreme Court ruled a law unconstitutional. This was the beginning of the "Judicial Review". Now the Judicial Branch has the right to interpret the constitution, giving them more power.