John Marshall: A Biography (1755- 1835)
Supreme Court (1801-1835)
On January 20, 1801, President Adams nominated John Marshall to be the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the highest court in the nation. The Senate confirmed his nomination quickly and Marshall officially took the position on March 5, 1801, becoming the 4th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
During his time there, John Marshall essentially made the Supreme Court what is is today. When he first came to power, the Court had very little power. Through his rulings, Marshall made the Supreme Court a prominent part of the federal government and equal in power to the executive and legislative branches.
Marshall made another change in the court when he persuaded his fellow justices to abandon the practice of writing separate opinions. Instead, only one single opinion was written. This unified the court by allowing it to speak with a single voice and further strengthened it. Marshall himself wrote many of the opinions, he penned 519 out of the 1,100 opinions that were issued during his time. His opinions were articulate and well-written, invoking the spirit and principals of the Constitution.
While Chief Justice, John Marshall stayed true to his Federalist ideals while making the court more powerful.
Through his arguments, Marshall was able to convince his fellow justices of the need for a powerful central government to keep a young America strong and secure. He made rulings in landmark cases that strengthened Constitution, the federal government, and the judiciary. An example of this would be the introduction of judicial review. Marshall also defined the borders of state and national power. He gave the Supreme Court the authority to override the state when national and state governments disagreed.
John Marshall served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for 34 years, until his death on July 6, 1835.