Richard Brookhiser: John Marshall The Man Who Made the Supreme Court



John Marshal holds a very special place in American history Without his leadership on the Supreme Court in the early years of the republic establishing the Constitutional role of the Federal judiciary this might be a different country today if it would have survived at all I have read two other biographies of Marshall over the years John Marshall A Life in Law by Leonard Barker and John Marshall Defender of a Nation by Jean Edward Smith each a longer and detailed account of Marshall s life and work However Richard Brookhiser surpasses them He reveals the man as well as the jurist Brookhiserk s delightfully breezy and disarmingly honest style make his biography of Marshall a remarkably enjoyable read His taking Jefferson down off of his exalted perch is also refreshing Marshall s glaring blind spot was of course the institution of slavery As a Virginia land and slave owner this lapse may be easily understood than forgiven but measuring the totality of the man as Brookhiser strives to do this country is far better off for Marshall service to his nation 34 years as chief justice Served 6 presidents Despised his cousin Thomas Jefferson Adored George Washington Great book John Marshall was the fourth Chief Justice of the United States of America Marshall held the post for 34 years beginn The life of John Marshall 1755 1835 spans the first and formative decades of the United States Born in colonial Virginia Marshall fought for American independence under George Washington whom he revered as the beau ideal of a true republican and memorialized in a biography For the rest of his life Richard Brookhiser writes John Marshall saw Washington as his commander and himself as one of his troops And so when Washington personally urged Marshall to run for Congress in 1798 he didsuccessfully representing Virginia s 13thDistrict from 1799 1800Like Washington Marshall was a Federalist John Adams tapped him to be US Secretary of State in 1800 After the momentous 1800 election in which Adams and the Federalists lost both the White House and Congress to Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic Republicans Adams appointed Marshall chief justice of the US Supreme Court the month before Jefferson s inauguration Marshall and Jefferson were cousins and though both were patriots they were indefatigable political foes Marshall swore Jefferson into office then used Supreme Court legal opinions to continue the Federalist battle against the Democrats for the next 34 years When he died Andrew Jackson was president Roger Taney author of the Dred v Scott infamy succeeded him as chief justiceRichard Brookhiser surveys Marshall s public career and its effects in his engaging new study This is not a comprehensive biography of the great man In many ways it is the story of the most significant cases he triedMarbury v Madison United States vs Burrin which Jonathan Edwards grandson and Alexander Hamilton s iller stood trial for treason Fletcher v Peck Trustees of Dartmouth College v WoodwardMcCullough v Maryland Cohens v Virginia Gibbons v Ogden the Antelopecase touching on slavery Ogdenv Saundersa bankruptcy case this Ogden being the nephew of the previous Ogden evidence of a litigious family no doubt also the only case in which Marshall wrote a dissenting opinion The Cherokee Nation v Georgiaand Worcester v Georgiaboth cases dealing with Georgia s abominable treatment of Native Americans and Barron v Balti among othersThough not well nown today outside the legal profession at least these cases were flashpoints of controversy between a broadly Federalist vision of the American republic and a Democratic one Was the United States a union or a confederacy Where was the boundary between federal supremacy and states rights Could Congress establish a Bank of the United States without explicit wording in the Constitution More broadly was the law a debt against the living in which generations were obligated by the laws of previous generations Or did the land belong in usufruct to the living in which each generation passed laws as it saw fit The words were Madison s and Jefferson s respectively but the sentiments were Marshall s and Jefferson s exactlyBrookhiser is a political journalist not a lawyer so his descriptions of both the facts of these cases and their relevance are easy to follow and enlightening In a summary chapter on Marshall s legacy he notes that Marshall brought dignity to the Supreme Court How it tried cases and how it rendered opinions strengthened the hand of what Hamilton called the least dangerous branch of the federal government If the membership and opinions of the Supreme Court loom large in the minds of Americans today Marshall should receive creditBut than the dignity of the Supreme Court Marshall s legacy was defending the Constitution as the people s supreme act Brookhiser explains The people had made a new government giving it new powers and binding it with new prohib. The life of John Marshall Founding Father and America's premier Chief JusticeIn 1801 a genial and brilliant Revolutionary War veteran and politician became the fourth Chief Justice of the United States He would hold the post for 34 years still a record expounding the Constitution he loved Before he joined.

BOOKS John Marshall The Man Who Made the Supreme Court ´ Richard Brookhiser – ecogenlife.org

Torians of the day I especially appreciate the manageable length of this volume recent biographies so often seem to suffer from literary elephantiasis Brookhiser s style is clear cut and easy to follow he is uite good at explaining the issues involved in the major cases that appeared in the Marshall Court and how the Chief managed to achieve consensus and even unanimity even as Republican presidents began to make court appointments to fill vacancies caused by death or resignation The author highlights the lifelong struggle enmity might not be too strong a word between Marshall and his cousin Thomas Jefferson There are of course numerous ways to approach a biographical subject Brookhiser makes its clear at the outset that his book will not be chockablock with gossipy tittle tattle Perhaps it should have been when he does share this sort of detail he is uite good at it and his subject springs to life More insights of this ind might have enlivened his book and helped the reader understand Marshall as a person Also the author s treatment of the Marshall Court decisions makes for awkward chronology On the whole then this is a good reliable biography of an important American especially for those who might be in a hurry or unwilling to commit to a larger sprawling canvas that might reveal its subject vividly A simple primer on the longest serving Chief Justice Earlier this year I read an engrossing biography of the Wright Brothers by the estimable David McCullough engrossing that is until about three uarters through the book when the Wrights are chiefly trying to build their business and deal with a morass of patent litigation They learn through trial and error how to build a workable airplane they show off their creation to skeptical groups in Ohio and adoring crowds in Paris and then the story Dead-End Road Mysteries kind of sputters out with Wilbur suffering an early death and Orville pottering around his Dayton research facility working on the study of aeronautics The fact that the book trails off isn t McCullough s fault that s what happened and he does his best to chronicle it but the story just isn t thereIn reading JOHN MARSHALL The Man Who Made the Supreme Court I was concerned that the same thing would happen The wellnown and monumental Marbury v Madison case takes place very early in Marshall s term on the court which would stretch out to well over 30 yearsMarshall s life up until he was elevated to the Court is lively and interesting and author Richard Brookhiser does a masterful job of showing the forces that shaped his philosophy Marshall was all his long life an acolyte of George Washington under whom he served in the Revolutionary War After the war he lived a public spirited life as a Virginia lawyer serving on the state s Constitutional ratification convention and in Congress and not incidentally engaging in a robust social lifeMarshall also served as a diplomat on his one foreign adventure getting mixed up in the so called XYZ Affair which I had never actually understood until reading Brookhiser s concise and neat explanation of just what it was and why it stirred up anti French resentment in the young Republic Marshall then was appointed Secretary of State by John Adams for the last year of his presidency and as a lame duck Adams nominated Marshall to the office of Chief Justice Marbury was based on the rush to confirm Federalist appointees in the wake of Adams defeat by Thomas Jefferson and so it was one of the first decisions of the Marshall Court Brookhiser does an able job of deciphering both the odd series of events that led up to the case and Marshall s closely reasoned nearly impenetrable decision But thissection does than just shed light on Marbury it sets the pattern for the rest of the bookWhat remains is over 30 years of Supreme Court cases none of them as interesting or as monumental as Marbury all of which are wrapped up in the arcane politics of the era Brookhiser is a fine prose stylist with impeccable flair but even he struggles to make the details of some of the cases sparkle The narrative never uite bogs down but laden as it is with Marshall s leaden legal prose it has than a few rough momentsBrookhiser is at home describing Marshall as a political animal as the last Federalist in a country that at least briefly was all Republican Unable to direct the Court through political or ideological means he worked behind the scenes through conviviality and charisma to mold the Court into his own image Marshall insisted that all the Justices room together while in Washington discussing cases over wine and darts Brookhiser argues that his leadership of the Court resulting in unanimous verdicts not only led to its momentous decisions but firmly placed the Court as an eual partner in the Constitutional orderJOHN MARSHALL will please legal scholars than casual readers but even the latter will find much to enjoy and savor hereReviewed by Curtis Edmond. The Supreme Court's right to rebuke Congress or the president and unleashed the power of American commerce For better and for worse he made the Supreme Court a pillar of American lifeIn John Marshall award winning biographer Richard Brookhiser vividly chronicles America's greatest judge and the world he ma.

Itions Marshall devoted his decades as chief justice to explicating and upholding the people s government against the attacks of men he deemed demagogues in Congress in the states including his own Virginia and in the White House including his own cousin That defense relied on the Constitution s words and sometimes or the historical context of its creation Marshall new both intimately He had worked for the document s ratification He had witnessed the struggles and trials that had brought it into beingIn the last months of his life as his health deteriorated Marshall feared for the future of the Constitution he had spent his life laboring to explain and defend Marshall s opinions were substantially the policies of Washington and his most trusted aide Alexander Hamilton slavery being the great exception But by 1835 Jackson was in power states rights were on the rise and Roger B Taney was in the wings From then until the Civil War an anti Marshall view of the nature of the US government and the meaning of its Constitution prevailed It was as if the arguments between the cousins Marshall and Jefferson had never gone awayToday we live in a vastly different era Both union and emancipation are taken for granted which they were not in Marshall s era not even by Marshall himself But the court Marshall once led continues to fascinate and repel depending on who wins and who loses before the bench To that extent as William Faulkner put it so well The past is never dead It s not even past We all live in John Marshall s shadowBook ReviewedRichard Brookhiser John Marshall The Man Who Made the Supreme CourtNew York Basic Books 2018PS If you liked my review please vote Yes on my com review page 35 stars This book is about one of the great men of the era that saw the implementation of the Constitution as the Law of the La A biography of the most important Supreme Court Justice in US history is not something you except to fly through Nevertheless once Marshall got onto the Supreme Court I moved through the book very uickly Brookhiser sticks to Marshall s professional life most of the time though of course his personal life is mentioned so if reading a bunch of summaries of cases and Marshall s opinions on things sounds boring this is not the book for you This seemed impeccably researched primary sourcing as much as possible with many letters and opinions uoted but not so much as to bog down the book with that The author s admiration for Marshall is very visible particularly when describing Jefferson where Brookhiser definitely showed some disdain I guess Marshall would have agreed with that Marshall was very big into contract supremacy over all other law where possible which was very new to me and I liked reading about his views on constitutional minutiae Brookhiser did a really good job of eeping the legalese to minimum explaining law in understandable terms yet still in depth To sum up I fully recommend this book to people interested in American history and government for while it focuses on Marshall his core work is what created American government as we Valors Measure know itA copy of this book was given to the reviewer through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review In March 2018 I read Joel Richard Paul s Without Precedent Chief Justice John Marshall and His Time The book wet my appetite to learn about John Marshall When I saw this newly released biography of Marshall by Richard Brookhiser I had to buy itJohn Marshall 1755 1835 was the fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court The first was John Jay then John Rutledge and then Oliver Ellsworth None of these men served in the position long Marshall was sworn in as Chief Justice in 1801 and died in 1835 in a stagecoach accident when travelling for the Court Marshall laid down the principles of the law and policies of the Court According to Brookhiser it was Marshall that brought dignity to the CourtJohn Richard Paul s book Without Precedent was longer and provided information about Marshall s personal life as well as in depth analysis of his various rulings Brookhiser is concise and covered primarily his working life and relationship with George Washington Brookhiser s book was a bit entertaining I think that Brookhiser s biography is ideal for the lay reader Richard Brookhiser is a journalist and biographer I have read his biographies of Alexander Hamilton and George Washington I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible The book is nine hours thirty one minutes Robert Fass does an excellent job narrating the book Fass is a wellnown narrator He has been nominated for the Audie Award eight times and won it twice He also has won many AudioFile Earphone Awards Fairly straightforward biography of the noted Chief Justice of the United States appointed by an outgoing John Adams and serving the longest to date in that position until the second Andrew Jackson administration Brookhiser is among the best American his. The Court it was the weakling of the federal government lacking in dignity and clout After he died it could never be ignored again Through three decades of dramatic cases involving businessmen scoundrels Native Americans and slaves Marshall defended the federal government against unruly states established.

Richard Brookhiser ¶ 5 Summary

Richard Brookhiser author of Founding Father Free Press 1996 is a senior editor at National Review and a columnist for The New York Observer