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Marshall Court. 1801-1835. John Marshall. First chief justice to preside over court in Washington Appointed to Supreme Court by John Adams. Decisions consistently favored central government and rights of property against advocates of states’ rights.

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Marshall court

Marshall Court

1801-1835


John marshall
John Marshall

  • First chief justice to preside over court in Washington

  • Appointed to Supreme Court by John Adams.

  • Decisions consistently favored central government and rights of property against advocates of states’ rights.

  • Even when Democratic-Republican justices formed a majority on the court, they sided with Marshall b/c they believed the Constitution had created a union of states whose government had strong and flexible power.


Early supreme court
Early Supreme Court

  • First 10 years of the court, appointments not very valued – no one served long.

    • Had to “ride circuit”, left for jobs with less travel.

    • 1st Chief, John Jay, resigned to become Governor of NY.

  • Originally 6 justices on the court.

    • Number has varied from 6 -10 before finally settling on 9 in 1869.

  • Courts became so backed up in 1800’s that a whole new level of court was added (district courts, circuit judges) and Supreme Court justices no longer had to “ride circuit” or live in the circuits that they rode.


Early supreme court1
Early Supreme Court

  • Had no building of its own

    • First met in Merchants Exchange Building in NYC.

    • When capital moved to Philadelphia, met at the State House and then the City Hall.

    • 1800 moved to Washington, D.C.

      • Had 6 different meeting places in the Capitol and in a private residence during War of 1812.

      • Got its first chamber in 1819 in the restored Capitol.

      • 1935 got a building – in their 146th year.


Marshall s influence
Marshall’s influence

  • Decided justices should wear black robes

    • Prior to this they wore scarlet and ermine (like British) or academic gowns.

  • Decided justices should stay at the same boardinghouse or hotel.

    • Judicial family

  • Changed the way opinions were delivered

    • One opinion was read aloud for the majority and one for dissenting, rather than all justices reading their opinions aloud.


Major goals of marshall
Major Goals of Marshall

  • Increase powers of national government

    • Judicial review

    • Expanding the powers of Congress

      • Implied powers (McCullough v. Maryland - bank was legal)

      • Control over interstate commerce (Gibbons v. Ogden – freed internal transportation from state restraint.)

  • Decrease powers of states

    • State law can’t conflict with the Constitution (Fletcher v. Peck)

    • Can’t invalidate contracts (Dartmouth College v. Woodward)


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