Brief cases

Hi, The assignment is to write a brief case for these cases listed below

I will post an example for how to write a brief.

It is due friday by 12pm

You should include: Case, facts, issues, holding, reasoning


Reynolds v Sims

Wesberry v Sanders

Shaw v Reno

Bush v Gore

Citizens United v FEC


Noof Alkhamis

PSCI 4200

Case Brief 1





Marbury V. Madison (1803)



During the elections of 1800 there was a fierce political battle between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Under the presidency of John Adams (1789-1801), the Federalists controlled congress. However, in 1800 Thomas Jefferson won that election, and the Anti-Federalists took control over the executive and legislative branch.

In response the Federalists desperate wanted to hold on to the third branch of government, the judiciary. Therefore, passed the judiciary act of 1801, which includes 42 new positions called justices of the peace, and appointed John Marshall – a federalist – Chief of Justice.

All commissions appointing the justices of peace were signed and sealed the last minute, but four commissions were not delivered. Once Thomas Jefferson took office he considered those commissions void, and ordered the new secretary of state, James Madison, not to deliver them.

As a result, Marbury – one of the four nominated justices who did not receive their commissions – sued Madison for withholding it. He argued that once the commission was signed and sealed he was officially appointed regardless if he received the paper work or not, and asked the Supreme Court for a Writ of Mandamus ordering delivery of his commission.



  1. Does Marbury have a right to his commission?
  2. Does the Law grant Marbury a remedy?
  3. Does the Supreme Court have original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus?



Holding (Marshall):

Marbury has a right this commission, and the law grants Marbury a remedy. However, No, the Supreme Court does not have original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus.



The constitution of the United States serves as a supreme law of the land. Not only does it grants power, but also establishes limitations on the power of the government. When cases come to the Supreme Court, the Court must decide a verdict according to the law. “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.”

The constitution creates two categories of jurisdiction for the Supreme Court – Original and appellate, and Congress under Article III, has the power to regulate appellate jurisdiction, but there is not mention for the ruling of original jurisdiction. The provision of the Judiciary Act of 1789, which added matters of mandamus to the original jurisdiction of the Court is beyond the power given to Congress by the constitution. It creates conflict between the constitution and congressional law, and according to Marshall, “can a law repugnant to the constitution become the law of the land?” Thus, without legitimate jurisdiction, the Court cannot provide Marbury a writ of Mandamus











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