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As the fourth Supreme Court Chief Justice of the United States of America John Marshall created a legacy that has endured nearly two hundred years While writing the majority opinion for the Supreme Court case of Marbury v Madison in 1803 he single-handedly changed the course of our judicial system He did this by granting the judicial branch the power to determine a law unconstitutional otherwise known as judicial review The question at hand then is to explore how this one ruling on a seemingly insignificant case became a worthy landmark on the timeline of United States history Just as any decision at any specific point in time Marshall did not intentionally choose to eradicate the norm and clear a new path for the future He was neither attempting to establish judicial supremacy nor rewrite the law Nevertheless this seemingly ingenious decision was clearly groundbreaking in that it was the first instance on which the Supreme Court officially established its power over legislation and has since been viewed as the basis for judicial authority Gunnarson 2 However John Marshalls ruling in the case of Marbury v Madison was undoubtedly the only logical choice and was based on three important factors previous models of judicial review political interests and the Constitution According to Gunnarson 1 the assumption of judicial review was present before the Marbury decision and Marshall based his opinion on theories that already existed The first significant idea of judicial review came in May of 1787 during the Constitutional Convention The eighth resolution of the Virginia plan recommended the formation of a council that would have the power to review and revise all acts of Congress 9 This marked the beginning of the basic ideas of judicial review Several months later the debate changed from whether or not to create this Council of Revision to who should belong on it The central argument between the delegates was whether or not judges should be allowed
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