John Marshall

Portrait by Henry Inman, 1832
Marshall's birthplace monument in Germantown, Virginia
Coat of arms of Marshall
The Hollow House
John Marshall's House in Richmond, Virginia
Marshall's Chief Justice nomination
Steel engraving of John Marshall by Alonzo Chappel
The text of the McCulloch v. Maryland decision, handed down March 6, 1819, as recorded in the minutes of the US Supreme Court
Marshall's grave
John Marshall and George Wythe
Oak Hill
Chief Justice John Marshall by William Wetmore Story, at John Marshall Park in Washington, D.C.
Marshall was the subject of a 2005 commemorative silver dollar.
Marshall on the 1890 $20 Treasury Note, one of 53 people depicted on United States banknotes
John Marshall on a Postal Issue of 1894

American politician and lawyer who served as the fourth chief justice of the United States from 1801 until his death in 1835.

- John Marshall

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Judicial review

Process under which executive, legislative and administrative actions are subject to review by the judiciary.

The High Court of Australia. Under the Constitution of Australia, the judiciary forms part of the separation of powers, with executive or legislative actions subject to review by the judiciary. Laws, acts and governmental actions that are incompatible with a higher authority (e.g. the Constitution) can be reviewed and overturned

In contrast to legislative supremacy, the idea of separation of powers was first introduced by Montesquieu; it was later institutionalized in the United States by the Supreme Court ruling in Marbury v. Madison under the court of John Marshall.

Federalist Party

Traditionalist conservative party that was the first political party in the United States.

A portrait of Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull, 1806
The Apotheosis of Washington as seen looking up from the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C.
Gilbert Stuart, John Adams, c. 1800-1815
President Thomas Jefferson
President James Madison

After losing executive power, they decisively shaped Supreme Court policy for another three decades through Chief Justice John Marshall.

Chief Justice of the United States

Chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States and the highest-ranking officer of the U.S. federal judiciary.

Additionally, in December 1800, former Chief Justice John Jay was nominated and confirmed to the position a second time but ultimately declined it, opening the way for the appointment of John Marshall.

XYZ Affair

Political and diplomatic episode in 1797 and 1798, early in the presidency of John Adams, involving a confrontation between the United States and Republican France that led to the Quasi-War.

A British political cartoon depicting the affair: The United States is represented by Columbia, who is being plundered by five Frenchmen, including three characters wearing French cockades, one wearing the Phrygian cap – symbols of revolutionary, republican France. The figures grouped off to the right are other European countries; John Bull, representing Great Britain, sits laughing on the white cliffs of Dover depicted as a hill.
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney headed the American commission.
French Foreign Minister Talleyrand
Elbridge Gerry
Jean-Conrad Hottinguer
John Marshall
William Vans Murray

The diplomats, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry, were approached through informal channels by agents of the French foreign minister, Talleyrand, who demanded bribes and a loan before formal negotiations could begin.

Marbury v. Madison

Landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that established the principle of judicial review in the United States, meaning that American courts have the power to strike down laws and statutes that they find to violate the Constitution of the United States.

An 1808 engraving of Chief Justice John Marshall by French portrait painter Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin
The U.S. Capitol, home of the U.S. Congress and also where the U.S. Supreme Court convened from 1801 until the Supreme Court Building's completion in 1935.
Marshall's famous line from Marbury v. Madison on American federal courts' power to interpret the law, now inscribed on the wall of the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.
Chief justice John Marshall, as painted by Henry Inman in 1832, after having presided over the American federal judiciary for over 30 years

In an opinion written by Chief Justice John Marshall, the Court held firstly that Madison's refusal to deliver Marbury's commission was illegal, and secondly that it was normally proper for a court in such situations to order the government official in question to deliver the commission.

Supreme Court of the United States

Highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States.

The Court lacked its own building until 1935; from 1791 to 1801, it met in Philadelphia's City Hall.
The Royal Exchange, New York City, the first meeting place of the Supreme Court
Chief Justice Marshall (1801–1835)
The U.S. Supreme Court Building, current home of the Supreme Court, which opened in 1935.
The Hughes Court in 1937, photographed by Erich Salomon. Members include Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes (center), Louis Brandeis, Benjamin N. Cardozo, Harlan Stone, Owen Roberts, and the "Four Horsemen" Pierce Butler, James Clark McReynolds, George Sutherland, and Willis Van Devanter, who opposed New Deal policies.
Justices of the Supreme Court with President George W. Bush (center-right) in October 2005. The justices (left to right) are: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter, Antonin Scalia, John Paul Stevens, John Roberts, Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Stephen Breyer
John Roberts giving testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the 2005 hearings on his nomination to be chief justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg giving testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the 1993 hearings on her nomination to be an associate justice
The interior of the United States Supreme Court
The first four female justices: O'Connor, Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Kagan.
The current Roberts Court justices (since October 2020): Front row (left to right): Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor. Back row (left to right): Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett.
Percentage of cases decided unanimously and by a one-vote margin from 1971 to 2016
The present U.S. Supreme Court building as viewed from the front
From the 1860s until the 1930s, the court sat in the Old Senate Chamber of the U.S. Capitol.
Seth P. Waxman at oral argument presents his case and answers questions from the justices.
Inscription on the wall of the Supreme Court Building from Marbury v. Madison, in which Chief Justice John Marshall outlined the concept of judicial review

The court's power and prestige grew substantially during the Marshall Court (1801–1835).

Roger B. Taney

The fifth chief justice of the United States, holding that office from 1836 until his death in 1864.

Portrait by Mathew Brady, 1855–1860
Bureau of Engraving and Printing portrait of Taney as Secretary of the Treasury
Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, photograph by Mathew Brady
Taney's grave in Frederick, Maryland
Roger B. Taney statue removed from Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore in August 2017
Roger Taney appears on a 1940 U.S. revenue stamp

In 1835, after Democrats took control of the Senate, Jackson appointed Taney to succeed the late John Marshall on the Supreme Court as Chief Justice.

Commerce Clause

Enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution .

Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.

Chief Justice John Marshall ruled in Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) that the power to regulate interstate commerce also included the power to regulate interstate navigation: "Commerce, undoubtedly is traffic, but it is something more—it is intercourse.... [A] power to regulate navigation is as expressly granted, as if that term had been added to the word 'commerce'.... [T]he power of Congress does not stop at the jurisdictional lines of the several states. It would be a very useless power if it could not pass those lines."

William Blackstone

English jurist, judge and Tory politician of the eighteenth century.

The Old Quad of Pembroke College, Oxford, where Blackstone studied
An Analysis of the Laws of England, Blackstone's first legal treatise, published during this period
King George III, a patron of Blackstone
The title page of the first edition of Blackstone's The Great Charter and Charter of the Forest (1759) The signature of William Henry Lyttelton, 3rd Baron Lyttelton (1782–1837), an English Whig politician, appears at the top of the page in this copy of the book.
Blackstone in 1774, after his appointment as a Justice of the Court of King's Bench
A statue of Sir William Blackstone by Paul Wayland Bartlett in front of the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in Washington, D.C.

In the United States, the Commentaries influenced Alexander Hamilton, John Marshall, James Wilson, John Jay, John Adams, James Kent and Abraham Lincoln, and remain frequently cited in Supreme Court decisions.

College of William & Mary

Public research university in Williamsburg, Virginia.

James Blair, founder of William & Mary
Territorial annexations made by W&M alumni
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College Building, 1859–1862
The college, c. 1902
Earl Gregg Swem Library on New Campus.
The renovated Matoaka Amphitheater scenically located on the shore of Lake Matoaka.
Former president W. Taylor Reveley III
Former U.S. Secretary of State and Fourth Chief Justice of the U.S., John Marshall (Under the tutelage of George Wythe, attended 1780)
Crim Dell bridge in the heart of W&M's wooded campus
The Western Union Building at Sorority Court, the College of William & Mary, site of the college's Army ROTC offices.
Author of the Declaration of Independence and 3rd U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson (Class of 1762)
5th U.S. President, James Monroe (Class of 1776)
10th U.S. President, John Tyler (Class of 1807)
9th U.S. Secretary of State, statesman, abolitionist, and Founder of the Whig Party, Henry Clay (Class of 1797)
22nd United States Secretary of Defense and 24th Chancellor of William & Mary, Robert Gates (Class of 1965)
Former Chief Scientist of NASA, Ellen Stofan (Class of 1983)
Executive Producer and Game Director of Bethesda Softworks, Todd Howard (Class of 1993)
American singer-songwriter and documentarian, Thao Nguyen (Class of 2006)

It also educated other key figures pivotal to the development of the United States, including the first President of the Continental Congress Peyton Randolph, the first U.S. Attorney General Edmund Randolph, the fourth U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, Speaker of the House of Representatives Henry Clay, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Winfield Scott, sixteen members of the Continental Congress, and four signers of the Declaration of Independence.