Supreme Court emerged as the most powerful branch
The Supreme Court has the final say as to the appropriateness of the law, and the actions of the President. They imposed during this time period limits of power on the other branches. This paper will argue the Supreme Court from 1 790 until 1 857 emerged as the most powerful branch in several ways: some history of the early Supreme Court, the emergence of a strong super star, discussion of the landmark cases that illustrate their power, and end with a remarkable decision rendered by the Supreme Court in 1857. Article 3, section 1 of the United States Constitution called for a federal audacity to be established.It was vague as to the power and details.
The Senate passed the Senate Judiciary Act of 1 789 which set it up. It called for 13 judicial districts. The Supreme Court was set up with one Chief Justice and five associate justices(l Justices are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. They can only be removed by impeachment on grounds of bribery or high crimes. Only one in history has been removed. This alone shows you the power of the Supreme Court. Presidents and Senators come and go but a Chief Justice can impact the country for decades.
President Washington appointed John Jay as the first Chief Justice. The court opened February 2, 1 790 and met in New York. It later moved to Philadelphia and finally Washington D. C. (2) Under John Jay the court traveled around the country solving disputes. During his tenure the court was trying to organize and define itself. Alexander Hamilton called it the “least dangerous” of the branches.
(3) John Adams appointed John Marshall as the Chief Justice in 1801. This appointment marked the turning point of the Supreme Court, and eventually moved it to a powerful status.John Marshall grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. He did not have extensive schooling. He was primarily home schooled and attended law lectures at the College of William and Mary. He did become a lawyer, and was well respected. He built a very strong law firm.
His family was well respected. His father worked for George Washington and his mother was a relative of Thomas Jefferson. (4) It did not take John Marshall long to advance the Supreme Court’s power. His first landmark decision was Mammary v. Madison in 1803. In his decision Marshall said: “If TTY. Laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each I” (5) In effect if Congress passes a law that is in violation of the Constitution then the law can be nullified by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court can now control Congress and make them stay within the boundaries of the Constitution. The current Chief Justice, William Rehnquist, called this decision, “the most famous case ever decided by the united States Supreme Court. ” (6) This case established judicial review over the Congress and the Executive branch. His next landmark decision was McCullough v.Maryland in 1819. The issue of states rights versus national power or Federalism had been debated since the Revolutionary War. John Marshall defined it by this decision.
He gave Congress the right to establish a national bank. This strengthened the Federalists movement. He felt the Constitution allowed for it. The state of Maryland wanted to tax this bank. He ruled a state has no right to tax the Federal Government. He said, “The Constitution and the laws made in pursuance thereof are supreme; they control the Constitution and laws of the respective states and cannot be controlled by them. He followed this up by dating the Supreme Court was superior to the States courts in Martin v.
Hunter’s in 1816 and Cohen v. Virginia in 1821. (7) He moves on to Interstate Commerce in 1824 with the Gibbons v. Ogden decision. Steamboats had been invented and Robert Fulton had a monopoly operating a steamship line between New York and New Jersey. New York had granted Ogden a license to operate under this monopoly. Gibbons was given a license by Congress.
They sued each other and John Marshall had the last say. He ruled in favor of Congress over the state of New York. He expanded the power of Congress to control commerce. 8) Our time period in question ends in 1857 and with a major decision by the Supreme Court. John Marshall was long dead, but his successor, Roger Tenet, was still the Chief Justice. He ruled in the Dried Scott case. Dried Scott was born a slave in Virginia in 1799.
In 1920 Missouri was admitted to the United States as a slave tolerant state. Dried Scott was sold to a SST Louis family as a slave. He had worked several years in Illinois and Wisconsin for the family. These are slave free states. A lower court freed Dried Scott. An appellate court ruled him a slave. Dried Scott took his case to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court ruled as a slave Scott had no standing as a citizen, and he can not appeal to the Federal government and he is to remain a slave. Chief Justice Tenet went on to say Congress had no right to limit Missouri right to allow slavery. Disagree with the decision but once again it shows you who has the authority to finally rule on important issues. (9) All of these decisions by the John Marshall court established the role the states and the Federal government would play. The issue of Federalism and states rights was decided in large part by John Marshall and the Supreme Court.