John Marshall: The Most Influential Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
In the beginning years of the United States Constitution, the Supreme Court was a struggling institution due to the lack of effectiveness of the Chief Justices and was not highly regarded by the executive and legislative branches of the government. The third Chief Justice in only twelve years, John Marshall put an end to the Supreme Court’s lack of influence after his appointment by President John Adams in 1801. John Marshall was the most influential Chief Justice of the Supreme Court because he was the first to make it a just and effective establishment that was equal to the two other branches of government by his court rulings and policies.
Through his first case, Marbury v. Madison, Marshall formed a foothold for the Supreme Court through his administration of judicial review. In this case, Marbury had not received his judicial commission after President Adams was elected. Former President Thomas Jefferson had instructed his Secretary of State, James Madison not to pay Marbury. Marbury then sued to recover his commission through the Judiciary Act of 1789, but failed. He tried once again and Marshall ruled that the Supreme Court had the final say on constitutionality. This was significant because it declared the Supreme Court as the end of the line on any court cases and that once a ruling was made, that would be the end of it.
In Fletcher v. Peck, Marshall made the first ruling declaring a state legislative act as unconstitutional. This was a step towards states’ rights versus the federal government. The importance of this is that nine years later states’ rights would again come up. Through bribery, the Georgia legislature granted 35 million acres to private speculators. Through its next legislature, it cancelled the transaction due to public objection. The Supreme Court ruled that the grant was a contract and that it could not be overruled or impaired. This case ruled in favor...