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Marbury Vs. Madison

Essay by   •  April 21, 2013  •  Case Study  •  319 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,835 Views

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Vincent Clark

Marbury vs. Madison

Supreme Courts should have the power to overturn unconstitutional laws. Marbury vs. Madison (1803) is possibly the most important court case impacting decision-making in the United States. This case was the first act of judicial review because the Supreme Court had found an act of Congress unconstitutional.

There are several documents that support that the Supreme Courts have the power to overturn unconstitutional laws. First, according to Hamilton, "the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature...to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority". This process of checks and balances ensures that no one branch of government has all the power.

Secondly, the Constitution itself states in Article III that the Supreme Court has the power to try all criminal cases within their authority. "The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court."

The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution states that decisions of the court are the "supreme law of the land". The judicial branch is bound to uphold the laws of the United States Constitution. If the Supreme Court decides that the President or Congress has passed a law that is unconstitutional, it has the power to overturn laws.

Lastly, the Judiciary Act of 1789 states that, the Supreme Court "shall have power to issue writs of mandamus, in cases warranted by the principle and usage of law, to any court appointed or persons holding office under the authority of the United States." This gives the Supreme Court the power to order lower courts or officials to perform specific tasks.

These documents show that the Supreme Court should have the power to overturn unconstitutional laws so that it keeps all in order and does not give one branch of government more power than the other.

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