The correct answer is C. Marbury v. Madison is significant today because it established the Supreme Court as a check against Congress.
The Marbury vs. Madison case was a judicial process before the Supreme Court of the United States resolved in 1803. It arose as a result of a political lawsuit following the presidential elections of 1800, in which Thomas Jefferson, the Republican Democrat, defeated John Adams, federalist that was President at the time. In the last days of the outgoing government of Adams, the Congress, dominated by the federalists, established a series of judicial positions, among them 42 judges of peace for the District of Columbia. The Senate confirmed the appointments, the president signed them and the Secretary of State was in charge of sealing and delivering the appointment documents. In the last-minute hustle and bustle, the outgoing Secretary of State did not deliver the minutes of appointment to four justices of the peace, including William Marbury.
The new Secretary of State of Jefferson’s government, James Madison, refused to deliver the appointment documents because the new government was irritated by the federalists’ maneuver to try to secure control of the judiciary by appointing members of his party just before ceasing in government. However, Marbury appealed to the Supreme Court to order Madison to deliver his record.
If the Court ruled in favor of Marbury, Madison could still refuse to deliver the record and the Supreme Court would have no way to enforce the order. If the Court ruled against Marbury, it would risk submitting the judiciary to Jefferson’s supporters by allowing them to deny Marbury the position he could legally claim. Chief Justice John Marshall resolved this dilemma by deciding that the Supreme Court was not empowered to settle this case. Marshall ruled that Section 13 of the Judicial Law, which granted the Court these powers, was unconstitutional because it extended the original jurisdiction of the Court, that was defined in the Constitution. Having decided not to intervene in this particular case, the Supreme Court secured its position as the final interpreter of the law.