Marbury v. Madison(1803)
Explanation and Analysis of the Document
Marshall's opinion for the Court opens with a brief recital of the legal history of the case. During its previous term, the Court had handed down a ruling requiring Secretary of State James Madison to “show cause” or offer evidence as to why the Court should not issue a writ of mandamus compelling him to deliver the commission making William Marbury a justice of the peace for the District of Columbia. Because Madison had failed to produce such evidence, Marbury made a motion for the Court to issue a writ forcing Madison's hand. Because of...
Marbury v. Madison (National Archives and Records Administration)View Full Size