John Marshall and the Supreme Court

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Chief Justice John Marshall made the Supreme Court what it is today with the help of the case of Marbury vs. Madison. He wrote the decision for "the most monumental case ever decided by any court in any country" (Glennon). Judicial review, and Chief Justice John Marshall, earned the Supreme Court the respect and prestige it carries today.

Marshall had several qualities that gave him the power and respect to succeed in making a decision such as the one made in Marbury vs. Madison. Marshall always spoke very intelligently. " 'When conversing with Marshall,' Jefferson said, 'I never admit anything. [ . . .] or you will be forced to grant his conclusion.' " (Glennon) He was easily able to discuss with the justices about not descenting and politicking from the bench. Marshall spoke frequently about how the court should act and think as one. He succeeded in bringing the justices of the Supreme Court together through his intelligent speeches and persuasive manner.

Marshall's persuasive manner contributed to convincing the justices that writing one opinion instead of each justice writing his own would be more effective. "This custom gave the judicial pronouncements a forceful unity they had formerly lacked" (McCloskey 25). This change allowed Marshall to write the majority of the opinions. Out of 1006 decisions Marshall wrote 508. One of those decisions, judicial review, was the most important ever written.

The Supreme Court had two choices as to what to do about Marbury vs. Madison. They could order delivery of the commissions and risk being ignored or they could not support Marbury and look weak to all. This placed the court in a very compromising position but Marshall uses his immense intellect to gain the courts the respect and power it deserves.

Marshall realized the Supreme...