Judicial Review Marbury vs. Madison


Before Thomas Jefferson took office in 1800, President John Adams tried to fill up government positions with members of his own party.

John Marshall the Secretary of State did not get all of the papers delivered and Thomas Jefferson, the new president, refused to complete the task.

The Two Sides:

Side one- James Madison. New Secretary of State James Madison did not deliver the papers so William Marbury could become a justice of the peace. President Jefferson wanted to appoint people from his own party.

James Madison- Secretary of State under Thomas Jefferson

The other Side- William Marbury. Marbury sued James Madison and asked the Supreme Court to issue a writ requiring Madison to deliver the papers that would make him a Justice of the Peace. He said that The Judiciary Act of 1789 gave the court the right to force the Jefferson Administration to follow through with Adam's appointment.

The Decision: 9-0

Chief Justice John Marshall (the same guy that started this whole mess!) wrote the unanimous opinion. They said that the the court did not have the authority to force the Jefferson administration to comply because the Judiciary Act of 1789 was not constitutional.

John Marshall

Effects on The United States:


It nullified section 13 of the Judiciary Act.


Protesters at the Supreme Court as they review the Health Care Law.

This decision increased the power of the court and established the right of the Supreme Court to determine "what the law is" and if it is constitutional. It is now accepted in our country that the Supreme Court has the final say on laws.


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