The Constitution called for the creation of a federal government with the following three branches, or parts: legislative, executive, and judiciary. Article I created Congress, the legislative, or lawmaking, body. Article II established the office of the President, who executes, or carries out, the laws. Article III created the federal court system consisting of one Supreme Court and other lower courts.
As with most aspects of the U.S. Constitution, the meaning of Article III was left open to interpretation. In 1789, shortly after the Constitution was ratified, Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1789, which established the federal court system. Congress created a Supreme Court, three circuit courts, and 13 district courts. There was one district court for each of the 13 states.
The Constitution did not specify the number of justices that could be appointed to the Supreme Court. Through the Judiciary Act, though, Congress provided for a Chief Justice and five Associate Justices. However, the Constitution and Congress left the scope of the Court's power undefined. These powers would gradually be defined through the Court's interpretation of the Constitution in particular cases.
earliest Chief Justices had very little impact on the direction of the Supreme
Court. But John Marshall, who served from 1801 to 1835, influenced the action
of the Supreme Court in ways still felt in the
In November 1800, President John Adams, a Federalist, lost his bid for reelection to Thomas Jefferson, a Republican. The Federalists also lost control of Congress in the election. For the few months before the new President and Congress took office, however, Adams and his Federalist Party still had control.
Thomas Jefferson became President in March 1801, he learned of
went to the Supreme Court in an attempt to gain his post. He wanted the Court
to issue an order forcing
unanimous decision, written by Justice Marshall, the Court stated that Marbury, indeed, had a right to his commission. But, more
importantly, the Judiciary Act of 1789 was unconstitutional. In
While Marbury never became a justice of the peace, the Court's
ruling in Marbury
SUPREME COURT CASES
ORIGIN OF THE CASE: (Describe what the case is about)
THE RULING: (What the court decided)
SUMMARIZE WHY IT MATTERED:
DISCUSS HISTORIAL IMPACT: