Would you like to learn more about the biggest cases ever decided in the history of the Supreme Court? (Also known as, is it 3 a.m. and you have a constitutional law test tomorrow and you're like my nephew and you still haven't taken the plastic wrap off your text book?)
Well, head to Starbucks™ and get a Venti or drive to your local Dunkin' Donuts™ and get an extra large coffee (with an espresso shot) log off your Facebook account, click on the case of your choice, below and read, read, read:
Chief Justice John Marshall put the Supreme in Supreme Court. He wasn't the first Chief Justice (John Jay and Oliver Ellsworth preceded him) but he was the best. When you think of Marshall think of that pizza place slogan, "you've tried the rest now try the best." He was the best. He was the pizza place that always serves fresh slices hot, no reheats. Marshall was the pizza place that serves regular and Sicilian slices and that's it! No Jamaican Beef Patties, no Buffalo Chicken Pizza or any of that garbage...sorry this is going on too long...
As for John Marshall, the man, his "likes" included enhancing the importance, strength and weight of the young federal government, particularly the Judiciary. His "turn-offs" included Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and remembering to deliver judicial appointments (oops....sorry Mr. Marbury). As a member of the Federalist Party he also believed in a strong and active central government and his decisions promoted and encouraged that end. He was not afraid to assist the states in enhancing their power as well. Remember his themes:
1. The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land...superior to all acts, proceedings, and laws of the federal government and superior to all of the states.
2. The federal government is superior to the states.
3. The PEOPLE are superior to ALL. That is why the Constitution is Supreme....through the ratification process, it is the document of "we the people."
4. The Supreme Court is the referee in all of these relationships and conflicts.
John Marshall....the Babe Ruth of the Supreme Court.
1. Marbury v. Madison (1803): The BIG DADDY of them all! Empowers the Supreme Court , creates judicial review, tells Jefferson to go to hell, and ensures the relevance of the Federalist Party for the next thirty years.
2. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819): Tells the states "don't mess with the federal government." With the help of the necessary and proper clause enhances the powers of the legislative branch.
3. Gibbons v. Ogden (1824): Tells the states, "I'm serious, don't mess with the federal government." Uses the commerce clause to further the powers of the federal government.