The Legacy Of John Marshall

1554 Words7 Pages
Michael J. Scinto
Professor Paul Rego
American Government (Politics 113)
20 - Nov - 2014
The Legacy of John Marshall Few individuals have left as prominent a mark on the United States as Chief Justice John Marshall. An ardent Federalist, he worked throughout most of his life to separate the powers of national and state government, furthering the agenda of his party long after they dissolved.
In Marbury v. Madison, he led the Court in striking down an act of Congress that was in conflict with the Constitution, legitimizing the doctrine of judicial review. Over the course of his thirty-four year term, Marshall oversaw numerous landmark cases, his decisions in which played an undeniably critical role in the early development of American law. Thanks to his firm hand and consistent principles, he was able to secure the institutional power of the Supreme Court in the face of staunch Jeffersonian opposition—affirming its place as an equal among the Executive and Legislative branches of government. The Supreme Court was established in 1789, with its powers stated in Article III of the newly-ratified United States Constitution. In the years leading up to the Marshall era, the Court was little more than a shadow of its future self. It lacked both the prestige and authority of the latter 19th century. John Jay–and his successors, Rutledge and Ellsworth–oversaw few cases, and ever fewer significant ones. Often cited as an example of the early Court’s inefficiency, their most
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