Fletcher vs. Peck Case Description and Analysis
Fletcher vs. Peck
In the case of Fletcher vs. Peck, the Yazoo land grants were on trial. One Georgia legislature had sold millions of acres to four separate companies at a price of two cents per acre. (Garraty 174). When the next legislature came into power, it was learned that many of those legislators that sold the land had been corrupt. The companies had sold land to many small farmers who had no idea that the land should not have been sold in the first place. When the grant was taken away by the Georgian legislature, the farmers looked to the Supreme Court. (Corwin 151).
The Court could have easily decided not to hear the case. The whole land grant process had been corrupt, so the Georgian legislature had the right to take them away, but Marshall believed there was something more to this case. He decided that he would hear the case. Marshall declared the rescinding act void because it violated peoples rights, and went against the separation of powers.
For Marshall, this explanation was simply not enough, so he turned to the Constitution to find something in writing to support his decision. He found his support in the contract clause. The problem Marshall had was that the contract clause was there to protect persons waiting for a contract to be carried out, a land grant is over and done with once the land is handed over. (Corwin 153).
By using a very loose interpretation, Marshall stated that when something is granted, the granter is not expected to try and take back what he has been granted. In reality, the Constitution did not say this at all, but morally it made perfect sense. Marshall believed that there was a moral contract involved and that both parties should assume that the grant is permanent. By using a very broad interpretation of the Constitution Marshall made this moral contract a legal one.
Marshall used his broad interpretation of the Constitution to strengthen the judicial branch. He used moral truths so that he could manipulate the Constitution however he felt necessary. The concept of judicial review was put into practice many times by Marshall to restrict state sovereignty and to protect the rights of individuals. At one time the Supreme court met only once or twice a year, but by this time, it was becoming a major power in the federal government, as it was supposed to...