In the Marbury v. Madison case, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of William Marbury's argument, but his commission was still denied because the court lacked the power to issue a writ of mandamus. The court ruled that President Thomas Jefferson, through his Secretary of State James Madison, was wrong to prohibit Marbury from becoming the Justice of the Peace of Washington County in the District of Columbia.Continue Reading
On February 24, 1803, the U.S. Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice John Marshall, confirmed the principle of judicial review, the power of the Supreme Court to limit Congressional authority by voiding and declaring legislation as unconstitutional. This principle was first applied in the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison.
Jefferson ordered Madison not to deliver the commission of Marbury, who was appointed by John Adams. Marbury sued Madison and petitioned the Supreme Court to issue a writ of mandamus, which was a legal order compelling Madison to show cause why Marbury's commission was denied. Although the court decided that Marbury's appointment was in accordance with established laws, it also ruled that it lacked the jurisdiction to order Jefferson and Madison to seat Marbury.
The decision of Chief Justice Marshall has been hailed as a pivotal turn in the judiciary system. It was considered a judicial triumph that made the Supreme Court equal in power to the U.S. president and Congress.Learn more about Branches of Government