In honor of Constitution Day, which is -- in my opinion -- the real birthday of the United States, we'll help all you 1Ls in your Constitutional Law studies by discussing five classic Con Law cases. Here we go:
1. Marbury v. Madison (1803).
Marbury started it all; and by "it," I mean "judicial review," which is nowhere to be found in the Constitution and otherwise appears only in The Federalist 78. The facts of the case are hopelessly irrelevant; all that matters is that, in Marbury, Chief Justice John Marshall declared, first of all, why the new country's Supreme Court exists in the first place: "It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is." He went on to articulate what is basically the foundation of constitutional law: When the Constitution conflicts with a lower law, the Constitution wins. Believe it or not, before Marbury, that was up in the air.