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sons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich; and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties incumbent on me as
according to the best of my abilities and understanding agreeably to the Constitution and laws of the United States." Why does a judge swear to discharge his duties agreeably to the Constitution if it is closed upon him and cannot be inspected by him.
If such be the real state of things, this is worse than solemn mockery. To subscribe to or take this oath, becomes equally a crime.
It is worthy of observation that in declaring what shall be the supreme law of the land, the Constitution is the first mentioned and not the laws of the United States generally, but those only which shall be made in pursuance of the Constitution have that rank.
Thus the Constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle essential to all written Constitutions that a law repugnant to the Constitution is void; and that Courts as well as other departments are bound by that instrument.
The Constitution gives this Court Original Jurisdiction only in the following cases: “In all cases affecting Ambassadors or other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be a party, the Supreme Court shall have Original Jurisdiction. (Clause 2, Section 2, Art. III.)
The 13th Section of the Judiciary Act passed by Congress purports to give this Court jurisdiction to issue Writs of Mandamus. It is not warranted by the Constitution and is therefore repugnant thereto and void, and this Court must refuse the Writ asked for.
However it is the unanimous opinion of this Court that when the Commission was signed and sealed the appointment was complete and vested in Marbury a legal right to the office. That to withhold this Commission was violative of that legal right and for this wrong
a Writ of Mandamus, if issued by a Court of competent jurisdiction, is the appropriate legal remedy.
The Clerk will call the next case.
The opinion of Chief Justice Marshall for the Court in the case of Marbury vs. Madison was the first case to decide a law unconstitutional.
"This case made this Court and our system of Government unique and different from all others in the world and gave our courts the unprecedented appelation of the Balance-Wheel of the Government.'"Woodrow Wilson.
Two or three other cases can be very easily arranged for scenes of trial in the Supreme Court.
The Dartmouth College case where Webster's celebrated peroration and the far reaching decision on the law relating to the OBLIGATION of CONTRACTS may be used very interestingly.
The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr or the Dred Scott case with Chief Justice Taney's decision is perhaps the most dramatic scene ever viewed in any court and can very easily be arranged from the above model.