John Marshal's Life and Work

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Confucius said, “May you live in interesting times.” John Marshall, fourth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court certainly did, from witnessing the birth of our country, to serving as the longest tenured Chief Justice in Supreme Court History. In a span of just under two years, he went from serving as a member of Congress, representing Virginia's 13th District, to serving as the nation's fourth Secretary of State, to being appointed the fourth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, January. It Begins John Marshall was born in 1755, the oldest of 15 children born to Thomas and Mary Keith Marshall in Fauquier County, Virginia. Marshall's formal education began at age 14 at the Campbelltown Academy in Westmoreland…show more content…
Marshall started changes at his swearing in ceremony by wearing a plain black robe, instead of the more common scarlet ermine trimmed robes favored in the past, that were reminiscent of British judges. Another change he made was having all the justices stay in the same boarding house while not in court. His reasoning was that in doing so it would instill a comradeship among the justices and give them time to discuss cases in private away from the court. His biggest change was to stop the tradition of each justice issuing a separate opinion. Marshall felt that by issuing one unanimous opinion, it would have more effect, leaving no doubt as to the outcome, “It is the opinion of this Court...” Marbury V. Madison (1803) This case has its origin in the Federalist defeat in the 1800 elections when they lost control of the House, Senate, and the Presidency to the Democratic-Republicans lead by Thomas Jefferson. The Federalist lame duck Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1801 which re-organized the District Courts, stopped the Supreme Court members from riding circuit, reduced the Supreme Court from six members to five, at the next vacancy, and established16 new federal judgeships that could be filled by outgoing Federalist President, John Adams. President Adams nominated loyal Federalists to the new judgeships and
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