John Marshall Court Cases

Marbury vs. Madison What was the case: Marbury was a soon-to-be appointed justice of the peace when Adam’s presidency came to an end, resulting in his successor, Thomas Jefferson denying credibility of the appointments because they were not completed during the time of Adam’s presidency. Jefferson’s Secretary of State, James Madison, was asked to allow the commissions. Decision: The Supreme Court denied Marbury’s writ of mandamus and he was denied the commissions. Reasoning: Congress cannot expand the Supreme Court’s power past Article three, and the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus.
Significance: The significance of this court case is that it affirmed the judicial review and helped make the judicial branch co-equal with the two other governmental branches. Fletcher vs. Peck What was the case: In Georgia, legislators were bribed to allow 30 million acres of land to be sold for less than two cents per acre. This scam was called the Yazoo land scam. In purchasing land from Peck during the Yazoo land buying and selling in Georgia, Fletcher sued Peck for selling land against the 1796 act claiming the land was not yet constitutional impaired by an act in Georgia.
Decision: The land was given a clear title to Fletcher and the act was unconstitutional. Reasoning: A law that deems a property unconstitutional established under a previous law is unconstitutional. Significance: This was the first time a state law had been overturned by the Supreme Court. McCulloch vs. Maryland What was the case: Maryland enacted a law that requires all banks without a charter from the state to pay a tax and they are prohibited to print money without stamped paper from the state.

McCulloch, a cashier in a branch of the Second National Bank in Baltimore, did not pay the taxes, resulting in the suing of McCulloch by Maryland. McCulloch questioned the constitutionality of the act. Decision: McCulloch won. Reasoning: The Bank of the United States is permitted to establish a branch in any state, the state has no power. Significance: This case gave the United States government implied powers ontop of those listed in the constitution. Dartmouth College vs. Woodward
What is the case: The charter was to Dartmouth College by the King of England in 1769 and had specific purposes for its establishment. In 1816, New Hampshire’s state legislature passed a law changing the school from a private school to a public school. The school argued that the state did not have the right to do so. Decision: The verdict came as a win for Dartmouth College. The New Hampshire law was removed. Reasoning: The charter was between the King and the trustees so any American laws that would change such a charter would become invalid.
Significance: The decision on the court case increased business investment and growth due to the security businesses have without the interference of the state on their charters. Gibbons vs. Ogden What was the case: Gibbons was granted permission from the federal government to operate steamboats between New Jersey and New York. Ogden was given permission by the state by being granted a monopoly to operate steamboats between New Jersey and New York. Ogden saw it unfair the special treatment Gibbons had over Ogden and he filed a lawsuit. Decision: The verdict came to be judgment for Gibbons.
Reasoning: The Commerce Clause of Article one allows Gibbons to continue his trade in the trading waters. Significance: The decision on this case gave the federal government the ability to regulate commerce between states. Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia What was the case: The Cherokee Nation brought this case to the Supreme Court against the state of Georgia in order to receive justice over the laws that destroy the Cherokee Nation as a separate political society and forbid them from the lands that they had set out for their Nation in treaties between the Nation and the United States government.
Decision: The Supreme Court denied the Cherokee Indians the request against the state of Georgia. The Cherokee Nation lacked jurisdiction for the case. Reasoning: The United States Supreme Court only deals with cases with “foreign nations” and the Indian nation was excluded from the foreign nations when this was determined. Significance: This case left the Cherokee Indian nation dependent on the United States. This case also led to the Trail of Tears which moved the Cherokee Indians and many more West where along the way, thousands lost their lives.
Worcester vs. Georgia What was the case: After hearing about the Cherokee Nation v. Georgia case decision and reasoning, Samuel Worcester took Georgia to court again because he felt that the state had no authority to pass laws that go on in the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation which is a nation recognized by treaties signed by both the Indians and the United States. Decision: Worcester won, disregarding his conviction of living in the Cherokee Nation without a state permit.
Reasoning: The law passed by Georgia was unconstitutional and went against the treaties signed by both the Cherokee Nation and the United States government in agreement that the Nation would be politically independent and its own nation from the country around it. Significance: The ruling on this case made the Cherokee Nation recognized as a politically independent nation from the country that envelopes it. Part C Evidence from this lesson such as his fairness in his decisions in the Supreme Court cases and his respect from high officials from part A if this assignment, this statement is made true.
John Marshall represents American law as a whole by his contributions to the laws and relationships between state government and federal government proven in the McCulloch v. Maryland case, for example. Also, his contributions to the “foreign nations” and our relationships with them such as the Cherokee Indians was strengthened and made history. John Marshall truly was the leader of American law and he would represent it proudly.

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