Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,800+ case briefs...

Marbury v. Madison

United States Supreme Court
5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137 (1803)



U.S. President John Adams appointed several individuals to the judiciary in the final days of his presidency. The group of appointees was duly approved by Congress, and Adams had signed their commissions. However, finalizing the appointments required delivering the commissions to the appointees, and that step had not been completed by the time Adams's term expired. The next president, Thomas Jefferson, refused to fully finalize Adams's judicial appointments and directed his Secretary of State, James Madison (defendant) not to deliver the commissions. William Marbury (plaintiff), who had been appointed a Justice of the Peace of the District of Columbia by Adams, brought an action against Madison in the United States Supreme Court. Marbury sought a writ of mandamus to compel Madison to deliver the commission and finalize Marbury’s appointment. Congress had authorized the Supreme Court to issue writs of mandamus as part of the Judiciary Act of 1789, so Marbury brought his action under the Court's original jurisdiction.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, C.J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 498,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 498,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial