This week’s guest writer, 17-year-old high school junior Stephanie Burnwick, will be summarizing the landmark Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison for her fellow millennials.
So, basically, even though the whole Supreme Court verdict thingy for Marbury v. Madison would be, like, settled in 1803, the whole mess started for reals back in ancient times, with the election of 1796. These two totally gross old guys, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, were, like, total BFFs and two of the most famous of those Founding Fathers guys — ya know, the ones who totally flipped England the bird and wrote that Declaration thingy. Anyway, when George Washington decided to bail on the whole presidency gig, the country needed to elect a new top dog, and the hottest contenders were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
Adams was Washington’s veep and a total Federalist, meaning that he thought the nation needed shitloads of government leadership or whatever. Meanwhile, Jefferson was a total Anti-Federalist or a Democratic-Republican or whatever the hell, so he thought that too much government totally gargled ass.
This Marbury dude suddenly had a serious beef with Jefferson and Madison, because they trashed his chance for a new gig.
So anyway, Adams won and got to be president. And, back in those days, the guy who came in second became the veep, so Jefferson was Adams’s veep, which was, like, totes awkward because now these two dudes, like, hated each other, but they had to be, like, partners and whatnot… ya know, for the country’s sake and all.
Four years later, history totally repeated itself, and they ran for president against each other again. Only this time, Jefferson went completely medieval on Adams’s ass. Check it out, Jefferson went and hired this old-school TMZer named James Callendar to talk trash and spread lies and gossip about Adams — and it totally worked. He said that Adams wanted to fight France in some war or something, and people believed it and voted for Jefferson.
Of course, Adams was like, “You can’t be throwin’ shade like that, man.” And Callendar was all, “Just watch me, dawg. I’m totally doin’ it.” Then Adams was like, “Then I’m gonna, like, press charges or something, cuz this is totally slander.” And Callendar was all, “Do your worst, playa.” So anyway, it turned out Adams was right. Callendar totally went to the joint for slander.
This bat-crap crazy, totes-negative aura around the election of 1800 was what made the whole Marbury v. Madison Supreme Court shiz-nit really hit the fiz-zan. So, Jefferson had just stomped Adams to become president, but he played dirty to win, and Adams was like, “I don’t think so, bee-otch.” So then Adams decided — in a total baller move, BTDubs — to make a whole crapload of last-minute appointments to fill a bunch of government positions (like judges and dog-catchers and whatnot) with other Federalists, knowing that it would, like, make Jefferson shit a brick or something. Then Adams dropped the mic and walked out of the White House like a badass.
One problem: a whole batch of those “midnight” appointment never got delivered to, like, the proper authorities or whatever, including the appointment of this dude William Marbury, who was supposed to become a justice of the peace. So when Jefferson (the new president) realized what was going down, he told his new Secretary of State, James Madison, to just sit on the undelivered appointments and act all ignorant, like, “What appointments, brah? I don’t see any appointments.”
Marbury v. Madison remains a big deal to this day. I’m pretty sure they teach it in law schools and stuff.
So, anyway, this Marbury dude suddenly had a serious beef with Jefferson and Madison, because they trashed his chance for a new gig. So Marbury went to the Supreme Court and asked Chief Justice John Marshall to order this thing called a writ of mandamus, which is a legal order to, like, make a person or a business or whatever do something that they’re legally supposed to do, or to, like, correct something that needs to be fixed or something. You get the gist.
Anyway, Chief Justice Marshall mulled it all over for a while, because, as far as court cases go, this one was a toughy. Finally, he told everyone that the Judiciary Act of 1789 totally gave the Court the right to issue that writ of mandamus thingy. So Marbury was all, “Sweet. I got this bitch!”
But then, out of nowhere, Chief Justice Marshall totally flip-flopped and said the Judiciary Act of 1789 may give him the right to order the writ of mandamus, but that right was all-the-way not jellin’ with the Constitution; so, even though it was a total dick move by Madison to not deliver Marbury’s appointment, the Supreme Court didn’t have the right to make him do it. Then, of course, Marbury was all, “WTF, brah!”
Marbury v. Madison would become one of most important Supreme Cases, like, ever. Mainly because it established this legal thingy called “judicial review,” which is totally badass because it means that if the executive and legislative branches of government act like punks and try to do anything totes stupid or something, the judicial branch can tell them to suck it and stop acting like D-bags. Basically, judicial review means the Supreme Court can be super active in making sure the other branches of government follow the rules in the Constitution — and that’s really, really important, you guys.
In the end, Marbury v. Madison remains a big deal to this day. I’m pretty sure they teach it in law schools and stuff. For the record, Adams and Jefferson eventually made up and became BFFs again, which is cool. I mean, ya hate to see friends fight, right?
Anyway, this whole case was a dumpster fire. And, regardless of what, like, books say, I still think this whole disastrophe could’ve been avoided if Adams and Jefferson just took a breath and, instead of beefing, decided to watch Netflix and chill. But that’s just my opinion. I always try to avoid conflict, cuz I’m peace-loving as balls.