It’s safe to say that many of us Americans know very little about why our society is the way it is and why we live the way we do. Yeah some European pilgrims found Plymouth Rock like forever ago. Yeah we fought, what was the greatest military force in the world at the time, the British army and navy to escape the King’s nasty sanctions. Yeah the Yankees fought the Confederates over slavery. Yeah we killed and forced some (millions) native americans off their land for our own greed. Yeah we have been involved in dozens of wars all across the world. Yeah we have had forty some odd presidents through out the years. Who cares what happened way back then, why does it matter now? This is the same type of ignorance that too many people throughout the world have today. We should all be interested and knowledgable about our history on this planet for two reasons: 1: Everyone knows the saying, “History always finds a way to repeat itself.”. Well why do we have to settle for the constant mess ups. Why can’t we learn from history to make our future a more peaceful and happy place. And 2: I mean after all, one little difference in our history could mean the difference in all humanity today.
Today I am going to talk a little about what happened today, 212 years ago. On February 24th, 1803, Chief Justice of The Supreme Court, John Marshall, ruled on the case of Marbury vs. Madison in favor of the people of the United States under our Constitution. Arguably the most important and most influential case in all of Supreme Court history, it began what is known today as the “Judicial Review”. Judicial review gives the Supreme Court the power to expel any acts of Congress (Legislative Branch) if they are not in accordance to the Constitutional rights granted to all the people of the United States. This decision also led the way to their newly founded branch of government in the Judicial Branch. Now having three separate branches of government (Executive, Legislative & Judicial), a new system is soon to be found to keep each branch from over stepping it’s boundaries. A system of checks and balances limits the power of each branch by another so that not one branch can become too powerful. But even to this day, when the Supreme Court of the United States needs to assert it’s validity, it states the decision made by chief Marshall in the Marbury vs. Madison case.
To think if we had never established a Supreme Court as an equal branch of the government to check the power of the other branches of government is mind blowing and who knows what direction this country would have gone in these past 200 years. The criminal justice system could be different, The laws that we think are unconstitutional now could be nothing compared to what the president and congress could have done with unlimited power. Who knows, our country could be run by a dictatorship today. Hitler could have ran the US instead of Germany. We just don’t know, that’s what makes our history so interesting.
Where do you think our country would be if it wasn’t for the decision in the Marbury vs. Madison case??