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Marbury v. Madison 5 U.S. 137 (1803)

Facts: Thomas Jefferson won the 1800 presidential election against John Adams. However, because he[Jefferson] did not take office until March 4th, 1801, President John Adams appointed Federalist judges and justices of the peace, called “Midnight Judges” to the court, one of which included William Marbury. Although these appointments were approved by the Senate, the commissions for some of these appointments were not delivered on time. Thus, the new president, Thomas Jefferson, declared the remaining appointments void.

Constitutional Question: Is Marbury entitled to his commission? If he has a right to his commission, and that right has been violated, does the law of the country allow a remedy to Marbury? Is the Supreme Court the legal place for Marbury to ask for the aforementioned remedy?

Answer: Yes, yes, and it depends.

Justice John Marshall Delivered the Opinion of the Court
The President of the United States appointed Mr. Marbury a justice of peace, and that the seal and signature by the Secretary of State signifies the completion of the appointment. Therefore, Marbury has legal right to the office.
Marbury has a legal right to the commission which was not delivered to him. Therefore, his right to the office and commission was violated, and the country must allow him a remedy to correct this.
Since Marbury is entitled to the remedy, the question would remain of whether or not a writ of mandamus (judicial method in which a government official - in this case, Madison- is ordered to do what is required of him) could be issued by the court.
The Judiciary Act of 1801 gave the Supreme Court the power to issue writs of mandamus outside appellate jurisdiction. (Midnight Judges Act, S 2).
The Constitution states that the Supreme Court “shall have original jurisdiction in all cases affecting ambassadors...In all...

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