11 03 14 Court Cases Marshall Court Essay

Submitted By lordvoldemort2766
Words: 1917
Pages: 8


Supreme Court Case:
Marbury vs. Madison (1803)


● As John Adams was leaving office, he appointed many judges (of his political party, the
Federalists) to judicial office
● Adams did this because these judges would serve life terms, and this would ensure that there would be Federalist judges in the Supreme Court for a long time even after the
Federalist party left office with the election of Thomas Jefferson
● Thomas Jefferson refused to honor the appointments Adams made during his last hours in office Issue(s)

● William Marbury was one of these people judges that Adams appointed and Jefferson never put into office. He got very angry, and sued James Madison (the Secretary of State under Thomas Jefferson) and demanded to be placed in office
● John Marshall, the Chief Justice was conflicted: if the Supreme court issues a writ of mandamus (which forces Madison to appoint the judges) then Jefferson’s administration would probably just ignore it and this would make the Supreme Court look weak. But if the
Supreme Court did nothing, then they would look weak as well.
Court Decision(s)

Chief Justice -
John Marshall

● The court declared that Jefferson’s administration should give office to those Adams appointed ● The court also declared that it didn't have the power to issue a writ of mandamus, even though the Judiciary Act of 1789 granted them the power to issue a writ of mandamus
○ The court ruled that they didn’t have the power to do this because it violated the authority given to the Supreme Court in the Constitution
Legal Impact of the Decision

● Even though it seems like the court diminished their own power, they actually gained the power to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional (also known as judicial review)
● The Judicial branch became equal in power to the other 2 branches

Name: Tara Anand

Course 5


Ms. Pojer


Supreme Court Case: Fletcher vs. Peck (1810)

● dispute of case arose in 1795
● Following the
Treaty of Paris
Georgia claimed possession of a region of the
Reserve west of its own territory
● Georgia legislature granted 35 million acres of state land (what is now Mississippi and
Alabama) to private speculators for 1.5 cents per acre (very cheap)
● All but one of the legislators who voted for the grant had been bribed
● In 1796, a new state legislature repealed the fraudulent grant
● In 1800, John Peck purchased land from the 1795 grant, and in 1803, he sold some of it to Robert Fletcher
● Fletcher discovered the sale of the land had been voided by state law→ brought suit against Peck (said Peck had lied to him in promising he had good title to the land)
● was a case of collusion­ Both Fletcher and Peck were land speculators whose holdings would be secured if the Supreme Court decided that Indians did not hold original title
● Federal court ruled for Peck → Fletcher appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court

● The question before the Court was whether the act of 1796 (repealing the act of 1795)

was a violation of Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution (once the state of Georgia had finalized the original sale of the land could it constitutionally repeal that sale? or is that unconstitutional?)
Court Decision(s)

Chief Justice - John Marshall

● 4­1 decision
● Georgia had violated the Contract Clause of the Constitution when it repealed the grants ● the fraud underlying the grants was "deplorable,"
● rejected Fletcher's argument that Georgia had the "sovereign power," as the agent of the people, to repeal this act of public corruption
● Peck was an innocent third party who had entered into two valid contracts: first when he paid for the land from the original grantee, and second when he sold the land to
Fletcher Peck fell outside the original fraud the Georgia legislature sought to undo in its repeal

● ruled that a grant to a private land company was a contract within the