The Marshall Court


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A basic look into the Marshall Court via Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch v. Maryland, and Gibbons v. Ogden.

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The Marshall Court

  1. 1. 1801-1835
  2. 2. John Marshall    Appointed by President John Adams, one of the “Midnight Judges” No formal legal training Just as important as Washington, Hamilton, and Adams for strengthening the federal government
  3. 3. Marbury v. Madison (1803) The MOST important case for the Supreme Court!  It defines the role of the Supreme Court within the system of checks & balances 
  4. 4. Marbury v. Madison (1803)  Facts of the Case 1. William Marbury (one of Adams’ Midnight Judges) never received his formal letter of appointment to officially begin his job 2. In accordance with the Judiciary Act of 1789, Marbury requests the Supreme Court serve James Madison (Jefferson’s Secretary of State) with a writ of mandamus compelling him to deliver the appointment
  5. 5. Marbury v. Madison (1803)  Constitutional Issue: 1. Does the Constitution give the Supreme Court the authority to review acts of Congress and declare them void if they do not agree with the Constitution?
  6. 6. Marbury v. Madison (1803)  The Court’s Decision (the precedent) 1. 2. 3. The Constitution is the “Supreme Law of the Land” ALL laws must abide by the Constitution As the Supreme Court, the main role is to defend the Supreme Law of the Land and determine which laws are constitutional and which are not
  7. 7. Marbury v. Madison (1803)  What did this mean for Marbury? Marshall agreed Marbury was entitled to the appointment and Madison should be made to deliver the appointment 2. However, the Constitution did not give the Supreme Court the authority to issue a writ of mandamus and therefore cannot constitutionally do it 3. Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 is unconstitutional because it attempts to increase the power of the Supreme Court without a Constitutional Amendment 1. For more read pp. 206-207 in the textbook
  8. 8. Marbury v. Madison (1803) For more information:  Oyez Site  Laws Site
  9. 9. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)  Facts of the Case 1. Maryland law required any bank that did not have the state’s authority (the National Bank, for example) to issue bank notes on specially taxed paper. 2. The bank manager, McCulloch, refused to follow the Maryland state law.
  10. 10. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)  Constitutional Issues 1. Does the Constitution permit Congress to charter a bank? 2. Does a state have the power to tax a corporation established by the federal government?
  11. 11. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)  The Court’s Decision (the precedent) 1. The Constitution gives Congress the authority to create and maintain and reliable system of currency. (Article I, sec. 8, p. 5) “…to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix standard weights and measures…”
  12. 12. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)  The Court’s Decision (the precedent) 1. Although the creating a national bank is not  specifically granted in the Constitution, it is considered both “necessary” for carrying out the above power, and a “proper” use of Congressional power in order to maintain the value of money. Yes, the Constitution permits Congress to charter a bank.
  13. 13. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)  The Court’s Decision (the precedent) 2. An institution of the federal government   (such as the National Bank) is created by the wishes and taxes of people in every state If one state were to tax a federal institution it would be like taxing people in every other state If every state taxed the National Bank it would be too expensive to operate and would destroy the Bank
  14. 14. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)  The Court’s Decision (the precedent) 2. No, a state may not tax a corporation of the federal government.
  15. 15. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)  What did this mean for Maryland?  The Maryland law that taxed the National Bank was unconstitutional  What did this mean for McCulloch?  He was not in violation of the Maryland law since the law was unconstitutional
  16. 16. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) For more information:  Oyez Site  Law Site
  17. 17. Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)  Facts of the Case New York State granted Aaron Ogden monopoly rights to move people to New Jersey across the Hudson River (indirectly through Fulton and Livingston) 2. The federal government a license to Thomas Gibbons to ship goods across the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey 3. Ogden obtains an injunction from a NY court preventing Gibbons from docking in NY. 4. Gibbons sues Ogden claiming the injunction violates his license to trade. 1.
  18. 18. Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)  Constitutional Issue 1. What is considered “commerce”? 2. Can Congress regulate trade? And to what extent?
  19. 19. Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)  The Court’s Decision (the precedent) 1. “Commerce” was defined to include “navigation” such as shipping on the Hudson River 2. The Commerce Clause (Article I, sec. 8, p. 3) of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to regulate trade between states “… to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;”
  20. 20. Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) The Court’s Decision (the precedent)  2.  Congress shares this power with the states, as long as the state law agrees with the federal law This enforced the Supremacy Clause (Article 6, sec 2) “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”
  21. 21. Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) The Court’s Decision (the precedent)  2. Yes, Congress can regulate trade between the states, a power that is shared with the states as long as the states abide by the federal laws.
  22. 22. Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)  What did this mean for Gibbons and Ogden? 1. Both had permission to trade along the Hudson River.
  23. 23. Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) For more information:  Oyez Site  Laws Site
  24. 24. Summary Quick Overview from Keith Hughes (@multimodalteach) on YouTube
  25. 25. Questions for Discussion 1. 2. 3. McCulloch v. Maryland: What Constitutional Power(s) did this case give to the Federal Government? Gibbons v. Ogden: What Constitutional Power(s) did this case give to the Federal Government? Based on your experience with these two cases, what role does the Supreme Court play in affecting the relationship between state and national government?
  26. 26. Questions for Discussion 4. 5. Who was the winner: state or national government? To summarize, how would you describe the role of the Marshall Court in determining the balance of power between states and federal government?