The Eighteenth-Century Background of John Marshall's Constitutional Jurisprudence, 76 Michigan Law Review 893 (1978)
Between John Marshall's appointment to the Supreme Court in
1801 and Andrew Jackson's inauguration as President in 1829, the
Marshall Court declared one congressional act unconstitutional and
invalidated state statutes in fourteen cases. Among these cases were
many of Marshall's major judicial opinions, including Marbury v.
Madison Fletcher v. Peck, McCulloch v. Maryland,s Trustees of
Dartmouth College v. Woodward, and Gibbons v. Ogden.
Marshall's constitutional cases have been of enduring significance
and have generated widespread scholarly debate. Perhaps the
single issue that has most divided scholars is whether the great Chief
Justice should be understood to have been motivated primarily by
political considerations or by more neutral principles that were less
political in character. On the one hand, many scholars have concluded, to quote one leading constitutional historian, that "[a]s a good Federalist, Chief Justice Marshall sought, naturally, to embody the point of view of his party . . . in constitutional law." At the other extreme, there exists a body of scholarship that understands Marshalla nd his contemporarietso have "plant[ed] themselves upon the provisions of the written Constitution, and den[ied] to popular
legislation the binding force of law, whenever such legislation infringe[d] a constitutional provision."
Date of Authorship for this Version
John Marshall, jurisprudence, constitutional law
Nelson, William E., "The Eighteenth-Century Background of John Marshall's Constitutional Jurisprudence" (1978). Faculty Scholarship Series. 4501.