The US Supreme Court (led by Chief Justice John Marshall) held that Marbury did have a right to his appointment as it had been signed and sealed. of peace for the county of Washington in the district of Columbia; and that the seal of the United States, affixed thereto by the secretary of state, is conclusive testimony of the verity of the signature, and of the completion of the appointment; and that the appointment conferred on him a legal right to the office for the space of five years. Despite its newly declared power, the Supreme Court under John Marshall never again declared an act of Congress unconstitutional. The law would seem to contemplate that it should be made to the secretary of state, since it directs the secretary to affix the seal to the commission after it shall have been signed by the president. Here the language of the constitution is addressed especially to the courts. Adams and Jefferson, former friends and allies, had become bitter enemies, only resolving their differences on their deathbeds. again repeated, that any application to a court to control, in any respect, his conduct, would be rejected without hesitation. They cannot be extinguished by executive authority, and he has the privilege of asserting them in like manner as if they had been derived from any other source. [5 U.S. 137, 155]
The authority, therefore, given to the supreme court, by the act establishing the judicial courts of the United States, to issue writs of mandamus to public officers, appears not to be warranted by the constitution; and it becomes necessary to inquire whether a jurisdiction, so conferred, can be exercised. Why does a judge swear to discharge his duties agreeably to the constitution of the United States, if that constitution forms no rule for his government?
This idea is founded on the supposition that the commission is not merely evidence of an appointment, but is itself the actual appointment; a supposition by no means unquestionable. If some acts be examinable, and others not, there must be some rule of law to guide the court in the exercise of its jurisdiction. [5 U.S. 137, 158] In such a case, I presume it could not be doubted, but that a copy from the record of the office of the secretary of state, would be, to every intent and purpose, equal to the original.
To aid him in the performance of these duties, he is authorized to appoint certain officers, who act by his authority and in conformity with his orders. Those then who controvert the principle that the constitution is to be considered, in court, as a paramount law, are reduced to the necessity of maintaining that courts must close their eyes on the constitution, and see only the law.
by some, as an attempt to intrude into the cabinet, and to intermeddle with the prerogatives of the executive.
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