On This Day
1803 – In Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court of the United States establishes the principle of judicial review.
Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137 (1803), was a U.S. Supreme Court case that established the principle of judicial review in the United States, meaning that American courts have the power to strike down laws, statutes, and some government actions that violate the Constitution of the United States. Decided in 1803, Marbury remains the single most important decision in American constitutional law. The Court’s landmark decision established that the U.S. Constitution is actual “law”, not just a statement of political principles and ideals, and helped define the boundary between the constitutionally separate executive and judicial branches of the American form of government.
The case originated from an incident that occurred as part of the political and ideological rivalry between outgoing President John Adams, who espoused the pro-business and pro-national government ideals of Alexander Hamilton and the Federalist Party, and incoming President Thomas Jefferson, who favored agriculture and decentralization and led the Democratic-Republican Party. Adams had lost the U.S. presidential election of 1800 to Jefferson, and in March 1801, just two days before his term as president ended, Adams appointed several dozen Federalist Party supporters to new circuit judge and justice of the peace positions in an attempt to frustrate Jefferson and his supporters in the Democratic-Republican Party. The U.S. Senate quickly confirmed Adams’s appointments, but upon Adams’ departure and Jefferson’s inauguration a few of the new judges’ commissions still had not been delivered. Jefferson believed the commissions were void because they had not been delivered in time, and instructed his new Secretary of State, James Madison, not to deliver them. One of the men whose commissions had not been delivered in time was William Marbury, a Maryland businessman who had been a strong supporter of Adams and the Federalists. In late 1801, after Madison had repeatedly refused to deliver his commission, Marbury filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court asking the Court to issue a writ of mandamus forcing Madison to deliver his commission.
In an opinion written by Chief Justice John Marshall, the Court held firstly that Madison’s refusal to deliver Marbury’s commission was illegal, and secondly that it was normally proper for a court in such situations to order the government official in question to deliver the commission. However, in Marbury’s case, the Court did not order Madison to comply. Examining the section the law Congress had passed that gave the Supreme Court jurisdiction over types of cases like Marbury’s, Marshall found that it had expanded the definition of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction beyond what was originally set down in the U.S. Constitution. Marshall then struck down that section of the law, announcing that American courts have the power to invalidate laws that they find to violate the Constitution. Because this meant the Court had no jurisdiction over the case, it could not issue the writ that Marbury had requested.
Born On This Day
1900 – Irmgard Bartenieff, German-American dancer and physical therapist, leading pioneer of dance therapy (d. 1981)
Irmgard Bartenieff (1900 Berlin – 1981 New York City) was a dance theorist, dancer, choreographer, physical therapist, and a leading pioneer of dance therapy. A student of Rudolf Laban, she pursued cross-cultural dance analysis, and generated a new vision of possibilities for human movement and movement training. From her experiences applying Laban’s concepts of dynamism, three-dimensional movement and mobilization to the rehabilitation of people affected by polio in the 1940s, she went on to develop her own set of movement methods and exercises, known as Bartenieff Fundamentals.
Bartenieff incorporated Laban’s spatial concepts into the mechanical anatomical activity of physical therapy, in order to enhance maximal functioning. In physical therapy, that meant thinking in terms of movement in space, rather than by strengthening muscle groups alone. The introduction of spatial concepts required an awareness of intent on the part of the patient as well, that activated the patient’s will and thus connected the patient’s independent participation to his or her own recovery. “There is no such thing as pure “physical therapy” or pure “mental” therapy. They are continuously interrelated.”
Bartenieff’s presentation of herself was quiet and, according to herself, she did not feel comfortable marketing her skills and knowledge. Not until June 1981, a few months before she died, did her name appear in the institute’s title: Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies (LIMS), a change initiated by the Board of Directors in her honor.
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