Supreme Court Landmarks | The Predicament of John Marshall | 1

American History Tellers

By Wondery

Supreme Court Landmarks | The Predicament of John Marshall | 1

Wednesday, 21 October

After the War of Independence, the new American government created the Supreme Court to be have the final word on disputes that the states couldn’t settle. But at first, the Court was anything but Supreme.

For nearly a decade, Congress and the President held the real power. In practice the Supreme Court was weak, ineffectual and disorganized – a post so unappealing that many men turned down nominations to serve on its bench. 

All that would change with the appointment of Chief Justice John Marshall and the arrival of a case called Marbury v. Madison — a political drama that would embroil the new President Thomas Jefferson, outgoing president John Adams, the U.S. Congress, and even the Chief Justice himself.

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