Ambiguity Of Constitution

1187 Words 5 Pages
The Constitution is a bit of an anomaly in the world. It is a document that was created nearly 228 years ago, but remains the most important piece of paper in the government of one of the largest countries and in society. Fundamentally, it has a very straightforward purpose, to protect the people of the United States and create a system of government that would survive and work well for years to come. Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding the Constitution are nowhere near so easily deconstructed. Due to its slightly ambiguous nature that lets it be just as relevant in 2015 as it was in 1788, it can be hard to understand and live by, prompting the need for interpretation. Throughout the history of the United States government, people …show more content…
Madison, the court system had far less power and responsibility in the government. When Thomas Jefferson was elected into office following John Adams, the Federalist Adams wanted to prevent the Democratic-Republican party from gaining more power, so he decided to elect judges secretly, specifically William Marbury as Justice of the Peace in Washington D.C., that would continue the Federalist agenda after he was dismissed from office. After learning of this act of subterfuge, the new Secretary of State James Madison decided to refuse the appointment of Marbury, but was quickly told he had to enstate Marbury by the Supreme Court under the Judiciary Act of 1789. Thus began one of the most influential court cases of all time. John Marshall, Chief Justice at the time, was able to prove that the Judiciary Act of 1789 was completely unconstitutional, after it was found that it was not possible to force a President to elect a justice, thus passing the Judiciary Act of 1801 and setting up a precedent to be used countless more times called judicial review. Marshall was able to come to this conclusion after using the so called Supremacy Clause, which states that “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof [...] shall be the supreme law of the land.” With this small phrase, Marshall …show more content…
In compliance with the Constitution, acts of the Executive and Legislative branches could be considered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, but the process was much more lengthy and time consuming. Judicial review, without a label, was used, in fact, seven years before Marbury v. Madison in the case of Hylton v. United States, which pronounced the constitutionality of the Carriage Tax Act of 1794. Hylton believed that, according to the Constitution, all taxes must be divided based on the population of a state, therefore, he took it to court, where it was discovered that the tax was indirect and could not be apportioned, upholding the constitutionality of the tax. Although in Hylton v. United States the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality, it was still understood that the constitutionality was up to question. The original framers of the Constitution, specifically Alexander Hamilton in his 78th entry in The Federalist entitled The Judiciary Department, certainly knew of judicial review and believed it to be a part of the Judicial system. Hamilton states in this document, “A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the

Related Documents