The first time the Supreme Court ever exercised its power of judicial review was in the case of Marbury v. Madison. Judicial review is the right of the Supreme Court to declare laws passed by Congress to be null and void; if they contradicted or were in conflict with the Constitution.

In 1789, Congress passed the Judiciary Act which stated that the Supreme Court can have original jurisdiction in cases regarding people holding office or positions of authority in the United States. A certain case was brought to the attention of the Supreme Court when William Marbury sued James Madison the Secretary of State for withholding Marbury’s appointment as Secretary of State. Before The Court could settle the feud, they had to first decide if they even had jurisdiction to do so. According to the Judiciary Act they did, but in Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution it stated that the Supreme Court only had original jurisdiction in cases regarding ambassadors and other ministers and consuls in foreign countries. So, these two articles were in conflict with each other. In the end, the court struck down the Judiciary Act, and declared it void.

Even though the Supreme Court arrived at the correct conclusion that was consistent with the Constitution, they used political reasoning to arrive at the conclusion and did not appeal to the Constitution first. Should we be concerned about this? Why is it a big deal?

Even if the court made the right ruling, if they do not have to Constitution in the center of their reasoning, it shows that it is continually losing its power in our decision-making and lessening the importance of the priceless document.

-Shiphrah-

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