How Did John Marshall Become The Head Of The Supreme Court?

1043 Words5 Pages

John Marshall was born in 1756 and grew up near Germantown, Virginia. He was homeschooled by his mother and lived an unassuming life before deciding to fight in the Revolutionary War when he turned 20. Marshall became an officer in the Continental Army befriending General George Washington. He left the military to study law in 1780, eventually becoming the head of the Supreme Court. John Marshall’s work in the Supreme Court instituted new principles such as final interpretation of the constitution, the grandfather principle, and the process of judicial review into the the parameters of the Judicial Branch’s abilities. After its creation, the Constitution had seemed to explain the perimeters of governmental capabilities in the United States. …show more content…

A primary example of this institution at work is during the Marbury v Madison case. In the very last hours of his presidency Federalist John Adams scrambled to bestow positions in government to other like minded politicians who would support the act and laws he created during his time in office. Adams wrote up a commision assigning William Marbury as Justice of the Peace in British Columbia. However, this delivered in time. James Madison, Adams’ Republican successor, refused to recognize the document, arguing that it had not been filed during Adam's’ time as president. Marbury demanded that the spot was his. The situation escalated and was finally taken up in the Supreme Court. Once there, John Marshall ruled that although he felt it morally right that Marbury be given the position he was promised in the document, the failure to have the document commissioned on time prevented him from taking up the position. In doing so John Marshall gave the supreme court the power to review the validity of a legislative act - Judicial review. This increased the Judicial Branch's power and gave it equal standing with the legislative and executive branches. Furthermore, Marshall’s ruling in the Cohens v Virginia case stretched that power even more. In the case the two Cohen brothers demanded that their selling lottery tickets in Virginia was a right under Federal law. On the other hand, Virginia argued that their state law overruled this situation. Marshall agreed with Virginia and saw the Cohen brothers sued. This case built further on Marshall’s institution of Judicial review by changing the parameters for what the Supreme Court could review. State affairs were now allowed to been seen in the Supreme Court thanks to Marshall’s permission and ruling of the case. John Marshall’s conception of

Open Document