Cheif Justice John Marshall

Supreme Court Cases

Marbury vs madison


a case in which the Court formed the basis for the exercise of judicial review in the United States under Article III of the Constitution. The landmark decision helped define the boundary between the constitutionally separate executive and judicial branches of the American form of government.

The case resulted from a petition to the Supreme Court by William Marbury, who had been appointed by President John Adams as Justice of the Peace in the District of Columbia but whose commission was not subsequently delivered. Marbury petitioned the Supreme Court to force the new Secretary of State James Madison to deliver the documents. The Court, with John Marshall as Chief Justice, found firstly that Madison's refusal to deliver the commission was both illegal and remediable. Nonetheless, the Court stopped short of compelling Madison to hand over Marbury's commission, instead holding that the provision of the Judiciary Act of 1789 that enabled Marbury to bring his claim to the Supreme Court was itself unconstitutional, since it purported to extend the Court's original jurisdiction beyond that which Article III established. The petition was therefore denied.

Flecher vs Peck


a landmark supreme court decision. The first case in which the Supreme Court ruled a state law unconstitutional, the decision also helped create a growing precedent for the sanctity of legal contracts, and hinted that Native Americans did not hold title to their own lands. The resulting case reached the Supreme Court which in a unanimous decision (with a separate concurring opinion written by William Johnson) ruled that the state legislature's repeal of the law was void because it was unconstitutional. The opinion written by John Marshall held that the sale was a binding contract, which according to Article I, Section 10, Clause I (the Contract Clause) of the Constitution, cannot be invalidated even if illegally secured and as a result the ruling lends further protection to property rights against popular pressures and is the earliest case of the Court asserting its right to invalidate state laws which are in conflict with or are otherwise contrary to the Constitution. William H. Rehnquist, one of Marshall's successors as Chief Justice wrote that Fletcher v. Peck "represented an attempt by Chief Justice Marshall to extend the protection of the contract clause to infant business.

Martin vs Lesse


case decided It was the first case to assert ultimate Supreme Court authority over state courts in civil matters of federal law.During the American Revolution, the state of Virginia enacted legislation that allowed it to confiscate Loyalists' property. Here, the original suit was an action of ejectment brought in Virginia state court for the recovery of land in the state known as the Northern Neck Proprietary. A declaration in ejectment was served in April 1791 on the tenants in possession of the land. Martin agreed to assert only claim to the title. The facts being settled in the form of a case agreed to be taken and considered as a special verdict, the court, on consideration thereof, gave judgment in favor of the defendant in ejectment on April 24, 1794. From that judgment the plaintiff in ejectment (now defendant in error) appealed to the court of appeals.

Cohens vs virginia


decision most noted for the Court's assertion of its power to review state supreme court decisions in criminal law matters when the defendant claims that their Constitutional rights have been violated. The Court had previously asserted a similar jurisdiction over civil cases involving American parties.

McCulloch vs Marland


The state of Maryland had attempted to impede operation of a branch of the Second Bank of the United States by imposing a tax on all notes of banks not chartered in Maryland. Though the law, by its language, was generally applicable to all banks not chartered in Maryland, the Second Bank of the United States was the only out-of-state bank then existing in Maryland, and the law was recognized in the court's opinion as having specifically targeted the U.S. Bank. The Court invoked the Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution, which allowed the Federal government to pass laws not expressly provided for in the Constitution's list of express powers, provided those laws are in useful furtherance of the express powers of Congress under the Constitution.

This case established two important principles in constitutional law. First, the Constitution grants to Congress implied powers for implementing the Constitution's express powers, in order to create a functional national government. Second, state action may not impede valid constitutional exercises of power by the Federal government.

The Court determined that Congress did have the power to create the Bank. Chief Justice Marshall supported this conclusion with four main arguments. First, he argued that historical practice established Congress' power to create the Bank. Marshall invoked the first Bank of the United States history as authority for the constitutionality of the second bank.he first Congress enacted the bank after great debate and that it was approved by an executive "with as much preserving talent as any measure has ever experienced, and being supported by arguments which convinced minds as pure and as intelligent as this country can boast.

Second, Chief Justice Marshall refuted the argument that states retain ultimate sovereignty because they ratified the constitution. "The powers of the general government, it has been said, are delegated by the states, who alone are truly sovereign; and must be exercised in subordination to the states, who alone possess supreme dominion."Marshall contended that it was the people who ratified the Constitution and thus the people are sovereign, not the states.

Third, Marshall addressed the scope of congressional powers under Article I. The Court broadly described Congress' authority before addressing the necessary and proper clause. Marshall admitted that the Constitution does not enumerate a power to create a central Bank but said that this is not dispositive as to Congress's power to establish such an institution.Chief Justice Marshall wrote, "In considering this question, then, we must never forget, that it is a constitution we are expounding.

Fourth, Marshall supported the Court's opinion textually by invoking the Necessary and Proper Clause, which permits Congress to seek an objective that is within its enumerated powers so long as it is rationally related to the objective and not forbidden by the Constitution. In liberally interpreting the Necessary and Proper clause, the Court rejected Maryland's narrow interpretation of the clause.

The Court held that for these reasons, the word "necessary" in the Necessary and Proper Clause does not refer to the only way of doing something, but rather applies to various procedures for implementing all constitutionally established powers. "Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional.

Dartmouth college vs woodward


United States Supreme Court dealing with the application of the Contract Clause of the United States Constitution to private corporations. The case arose when the president of Dartmouth College was deposed by its trustees, leading to the New Hampshire legislature attempting to force the college to become a public institution and thereby place the ability to appoint trustees in the hands of the governor. The Supreme Court upheld the sanctity of the original charter of the college, which pre-dated the creation of the State.

The decision settled the nature of public versus private charters and resulted in the rise of the American business corporation and the free American enterprise system.