Development of the US federal judiciary system

Development of the US federal judiciary system

            One of the crucial events that shaped the federal judiciary system of the United States is the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison that was decided in 1803. This case specifically posed challenges to the dual ends of the independence of the judicial branch of the government. These goals include the enabling of the judicial branch to pursue impartial decisions and the checking of the political divisions. The very core reason as to why the case is deemed to be a landmark in the history of the federal judiciary is the fact that it was the first case that firmly illustrated and highlighted the authority of the federal judiciary in reviewing and nullify the actions and decisions of another branch of the federal government (Nelson, 2000).

            The case of McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819 also shaped the image of the federal judiciary. In the end, the court maintained that Maryland has violated the constitution by imposing taxes on the Second Bank of the United States. The McCulloch case was pivotal for it formed the perception of balance among federal and state powers as well as the concept of federalism by citing that the Congress certain powers that are already implied that these need not be juxtaposed with the Constitution itself (Killenbeck, 2006).

            In 1857, the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford became another landmark in the course of the judiciary system’s development. The context of the case involves the Scott’s legal attempt to acquire freedom from slavery (Davis & May, 1997). Although the case of Rachel v. Walker was set as a precedent, the United States Supreme Court arrived at a decision that favored Sanford and, thus, reaffirming the declaration that all blacks and slaves could never become actual citizens of America. This is one of the reasons why during those times even though several slaves acquired freedom, the general precept on blacks and slaves that they are not free was retained.


Davis, N. Z., & May, E. R. (1997). An Overview of the Dred Scott Case. In Dred Scott V. Sandford: A Brief History With Documents (Paul Finkelman ed., pp. 2-3): St Martins Pr.

Killenbeck, M. R. (2006). M’Culloch: The Case and the Argument. In M’Culloch V. Maryland: Securing a Nation (pp. 90-108): University Press of Kansas.

Nelson, W. E. (2000). The Early Impact of Marbury. In Marbury v. Madison : The Origins and Legacy of Judicial Review (pp. 72-84): University Press of Kansas.