Supreme Court Cases Part 1
Terms in this set (8)
Marbury v. Madison (1803)- Facts
In the last days of President John Adams' presidency, he nominated a number of people to serve as justices of the peace for the District of Columbia. The Senate confirmed the nominations, and the commissions were prepared. President Adams' Secretary of State, John Marshall, did not deliver all of the commissions before President Thomas Jefferson took office. President Jefferson then ordered his Secretary of State, James Madison, not to deliver the commissions. The plaintiffs, men whose commissions were not delivered, sued Madison in the Supreme Court and argued that, in refusing to deliver the commissions, the Secretary of State was neglecting his Constitutional duty.
Marbury v. Madison (1803)- Questions
1) Do the plaintiffs have a right to receive their commissions?
2) Can they sue for their commissions in court?
3) Does the Supreme Court have the authority to order the delivery of their commissions?
Marbury v. Madison (1803)- Opinion
1) Yes,The Supreme Court held that the Constitution grants the president the power to appoint and commission officers of the United States. Because the only evidence of the appointment is the commission, the two actions are tied together. Without the commission, the appointment is not complete, and so the president's signature on the commission is the final step in the appointment process.
2) Yes, The Court also held that, upon appointment, the officers have acquired rights to their positions under the law. If those rights are denied, then they may seek redress in the courts.
3) No, Marbury and others sought an original action for their commissions in the Supreme Court. But the congressional act conferring that authority conflicts with Article III Section 2 of the Constitution. The judicial power in the United States extends to all cases under the Constitution and the Supreme Court is bound to decide cases according to the Constitution rather than the law when the two conflict. So if a law is found to be in conflict with the Constitution, then the law is invalid. In this case, Section 13 of the Judiciary Act ran counter to the Constitution and is therefore void. Thus, lacking authority, the Supreme Court canceled Marbury's claim.
Marbury v. Madison (1803)- Decision
The Court Vote 5-1
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)- Facts
Congress chartered The Second Bank of the U.S and in 1818, the state of Maryland passed legislation to impose taxes on the bank. James McCulloch (cashier of the Baltimore branch of the bank) refused to pay the tax. The state appeals court held that the Second Bank was unconstitutional because the Constitution did not provide a textual commitment for the federal government to charter a bank.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)- Questions
1) Did Congress have the authority to establish the bank?
2) Did the Maryland law unconstitutionally interfere with congressional powers?
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)- Opinion
1) Yes, Congress has the power under the Necessary and Proper Clause to charter the second Bank of the United States.
2) Yes, Unanimous decision for McCulloch (Majority Opinion by John Marshall): Court held Maryland could not tax instruments of the national government and Chief Justice Marshall noted that Congress possessed powers not explicitly outlined in the U.S. Constitution
Marshall held that while the states retained the power or taxation, the Constitution and the laws are supreme and cannot be controlled by the states.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)- Decision