Scbuilding 1

Supreme Court Timeline

  • Creation of the Supreme Court

    Creation of the Supreme Court
    The Judiciary Act of 1789 sets up the judicial system of the United States, making the supreme court the most powerful court in the United States. By creating the Supreme Court the potential for all of its later actions was established.
  • John Jay

    John Jay
    John Jay was unanimously declared the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Jay hears four cases essential to establishing Judicial Review.
  • John Marshall

    John Marshall
    John Marshall becomes the fourth Chief Justice and will remain so for more than 30 years. During his term he repeatedly stated that federal law held power over state law. He was responsible for making the Supreme Court the third part of the system of checks and balances.
  • Marbury v. Madison

    Marbury v. Madison
    William Marbury, then Justice of the Peace, filed a petition against James Madison which the court found unconstitutional.
    This case was the first time a law had been found unconstitutional. This case established the role of the Supreme Court in the system of checks and balances.
  • Fletcher v. Peck

    Fletcher v. Peck
    The case came about as result of a land dispute between John Peck and Robert Fletcher, two important land developers. The validity of the contract between the two was disputed; fletcher claimed Peck had never held a title to the land that had been previously held by the Yazoo tribe. The case is crucial because of its determination that contracts were binding agreements. Furthermore, it initilived the idea that Native Americans had no claim on land, an idea that would be confirmed in later cases.
  • Darthmouth College v. Woodward

    Darthmouth College v. Woodward
    The state of New Hampshire stated that Dartmouth's original British charter was no longer valid and that it should become a public institution. The supreme court held that, by the contract clause of the constitiution, Dartmouth's charter was valid and had the right to remain private. The court's ruling was essential to the development of private business in the United States.
  • McCulloch v. Maryland

    McCulloch v. Maryland
    The state government of Maryland had placed a tax on all banks that the state of Maryland had not itself instated, including the federal bank. James McCulloch, head of the federal bank branch in Baltimore would not pay the tax and John James filed suit. The Supreme Court eventually ruled that congress had the power to establish a national bank and that Maryland could not tax the bank. This further defended the power of federal law.
  • Gibbons v. Ogden

    Gibbons v. Ogden
    Aaron Ogden wished for Thomas Gibbons, the owner of a competing steamboat company, to stop his water-based navigation from New Jersey to New York. Ogden complained to the state which filed an injunction against Gibbons saying he could no longer continue his actions. The case continued to the supreme court which overruled the state decision showing that congress held all power over interstate commerce and that the supreme court could overturn state decisions.
  • Worcester v Georgia

    Worcester v Georgia
    Samuel Worcester, a missionary to the Cherokee, was convicted for being on Native American land without a license. The Supreme Court found his conviction unconstitutional. The case is famous more for how President Jackson overturned the decision rather than the decision itself.
  • Dred Scott v. Sandford

    Dred Scott v. Sandford
    Dredd Scott attempted to buy his own and his family's freedom. After a court decision determined he was still a slave he tried to take the case to the supreme court which determined that African Americans are not citizens of the United States and could not be protected under the Constitution.