By: Devon Knox

This aspect of how the law works is essential and creates healthy and productive balances of power between the three branches of government. American history has benefited from the judicial review process numerous times as it provides various ideals that can be reasonably expressed in a government setting; this is all due to the case of Marbury v Madison.

The case was based on mediating between political parties wishing to gain an advantage by appointing judges in Congress. In the last minute effort, the outgoing president attempted to nominate judges to specific posts congressionally, but one person, Mr. Marbury, did not receive his appointment due to time running out (Douglas). The incoming president Jefferson denied this last-minute appointment and had his Secretary of State, James Madison, reject Marbury; this was contested by Marbury but ultimately overruled by Justice Marshall of the Supreme Court, which began the first application of judicial review.

The case was decided by finding the actions of the US Congress unconstitutional; this is a clear and formidable example of one government exerting its power over another to balance the branches. Marshall established a precedent that would be used for hundreds of years in America to prevent one government branch from performing unconstitutional acts (Graber). The political factors present within different government branches were demonstrated and put into play by both sides of the argument. Marshall delivered a strong and forceful decision establishing the Supreme Court’s duty to emplace a review system to ensure that the other two branches act by the US Constitution. This is why Marbury v Madison was so important, and its legacy is still studied today.

Works Cited

Douglas, Davison M. “The Rhetorical Uses of Marbury v. Madison: The Emergence of a Great Case.” Wake Forest L. Rev. 38 (2003): 375.
Graber, Mark A. “Establishing judicial review: Marbury and the judicial act of 1789.” Tulsa L. Rev. 38 (2002): 609.