PSCI 3322 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Mandamus, Stephen Johnson Field

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Marbury V. Madison
Judiciary Act of 1789 - One Small Section Involved
Provision that allows someone to seek a writ of mandamus under original
jurisdiction of Supreme Court
Allowed someone to go direct to Supreme Court at first trial, no lower court
Writ of Mandamus: Order to government official to do something
Judiciary Act is very large document
First law ever passed by first Congress
Many members were framers of Constution
Established the Federal Court system
In addition to the Supreme Court, there will be lower courts
!Old Way: Trial court judge in each state called District Judge
!They would only hear minor cases, real cases would be decided by Circuit
Court consisting of "
District Court Judge & 2 SC Justices
• Circuit riding: SC Justices going to lower courts
!If you didn't like outcome, appeal to SC
!Wasn't really fair as two judges would be at both cases "
Notes of the Court
Size of Court - 6 Justices at time, 4 participated
Congress decides size of Supreme court
1937 - Roosevelt tried to increase size to 15, failed
Biggest was during Lincoln, 10 justices
!Trying to keep California in union, decided to appoint one from there
!Stephen Field? Was appointed "
Importance of The Marbury Case
• 22931 citations by federal courts"
No other case in Supreme court history comes close
Establishes idea of Judicial Review, declare Acts of Congress unconstitutional
Marbury has been made Justice of Peace of District of Colombia
Congress is creating low level judges to deal with minor matters
Marbury was having an issue getting his commission that proves he's a judge
Goes to Supreme Court and asks for a Writ of Mandamus, ordering Secretary of
State James Madison to give him the commission
Madison is under President Jefferson, who is against that commission
!Is against a lot of judges from getting their commissions
!All of those judges are members of Federalist party
!Jefferson wanted to weaken the power
John Marshall is a Federalist, orders Madison to deliver commission, Jefferson
might refuses
If the court couldn't get Madison to deliver, court credibility/influence would suffer
However, if they don't do it, they lose prestige for not putting up a fight
Jefferson wanted to impeach if John Marshall if he put forward this writ of
!Would claim he overstepped his powers
!John Marshall is the most influential Federalist left in court system after
Pickering and Chase
Marshall's Solution
!Marbury should get the commission, but a writ cannot be issued
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