Class Notes

Possibly the most important court case for our day is Marbury V. Madison (1803).  When Adams left office he quickly appointed a bunch of new judges, so Jefferson would not be able to appoint any while he was president.  When Jefferson took over he refused to seat the new judges, one of the new judges, William Marbury sued for his appointment.  The Chief Justice, John Marshall was put in a difficult situation.  America was still new and he was not sure if he ordered Jefferson to make the appointments that he would.  If Jefferson refused it might be too much of a Constitutional crisis for the new nation to handle.  Instead he criticized Jefferson for being difficult, but said the Judiciary Act of 1789 was in fact unconstitutional.  By establishing judicial review, he made what was at the time the weakest of the three branches into the strongest, today. 

This case is important for two reasons, first judicial review.  Second, both Marshall and Jefferson attended the College of William and Mary and studied law under George Wythe.  Whereas they both attended W&M in the 1760s and 1770s, I graduated there only a few years later in 2000. 

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