Supreme Court Milestones

  • Creation of the Supreme Court

    Creation of the Supreme Court
    The Judiciary Act of 1789 was created to establish the Supreme Court and federal judiciary. 13 district courts with one judge each were in the main cities and 3 courts covered the eastern, middle, and southern parts of the US. The Supreme Court was the only court of appeals with a Chief Justice and Associate Justices
  • John Jay

    John Jay
    A New York native, John Jay was appointed by George Washington as the first Supreme Court Justice. He was a former president of the Continental Congress.After five years, he became the governor of New York. He was nominated to be Chief Justice for another term by John Adams, but declined it.
  • John Marshall

    John Marshall
    Being one of the most famous Chief Justices, John Marshall served the longest amount of time with thirty-four years and established the Supreme Court with the final authority on the meaning of the Constitution. He served as Chief Justice when appointed to the Supreme Court under President John Adams.
  • Marbury v. Madison

    Marbury v. Madison
    The doctrine of judicial review and the Supreme Court’s power as shown in the Constitution was finalized in this case. William Marbury was appointed to be the justice of peace of Washington D.C. by John Adams, but he was never appointed it after John Adams left office. A petition was made and Supreme Court decided that he was entitled to that position and the system of checks and balances was made for the government,
  • Fletcher v. Peck

    Fletcher v. Peck
    The Georgia legislature passed a grant, giving land to 4 companies. Later, the law was voided and all rights and claims made were invalid. John Peck had gotten land that was part of the original grant and sold it to Robert Fletcher, who argued that since the original sale of the land had been deemed invalid, Peck breached contract. The Supreme Court ruled on Peck's favor and the land wouldn't be taken away. The Court held that laws voiding grants or contracts made before were impermissible.
  • Dartmouth College v. Woodward

    Dartmouth College v. Woodward
    In 1816, the New Hampshire legislature tried to change Dartmouth College, a private institution, into a state university. The legislature changed the school's corporate charter by giving the governor control of trustee appointments. In an effort to regain authority of Dartmouth College, the old trustees filed suit against William H. Woodward, who had sided with the new appointees. The Supreme Court ruled that the government could not interfere with private contracts and the school become public.
  • McCollough v. Maryland

    McCollough v. Maryland
    In 1816, the Second Bank of the United States was established by Congress, and in 1817, a branch was opened in Baltimore, Maryland. Maryland then passed tax on all unchartered banksand James McCollough, head of the bank, refused to pay. The Supreme Court ruled that Maryland's laws interfered with Congress's powers. The states had the right to tax, but they could not interfere with Congress's power.
  • Gibbons v. Ogden

    Gibbons v. Ogden
    A New York state law gave Andrew Odgen and Thomas Gibbons the right to operate steamboats on waters within state jurisdiction. Odgen, who did business between New York and New Jersey challenged the monopoly that New York had granted, which forced him to get a special operating permit to navigate its waters. He sued Gibbons for operating in the same water. The Court ruled the New York law invalid and regulation of navigation by steamboat operators and other commerce was a power only for Congress.
  • Worcester v. Georgia

    Worcester v. Georgia
    It was a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that Cherokee Native Americans were entitled to federal protection. it gave federal rights and protection to Native Americans against state action. The significance was the proof that the Federal Government, not individual states, had authority over Indian Affairs, and other domestic disputes.
  • Dred Scott v. Sandford

    Dred Scott v. Sandford
    Dred Scott was a slave in Missouri who resided in Illinois (a free state) and in an area of the Louisiana Territory, where slavery was forbidden by the Missouri Compromise of 1820. After returning to Missouri, Scott sued unsuccessfully in the Missouri courts for his freedom, claiming that his residence in free territory made him a free man. The court reached the conclusion that no person descended from an American slave had ever been a citizen for Article III purposes. Scott was deemed a slave.