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Surpreme Court Milestones

  • Creation of the Surpreme Court

    Creation of the Surpreme Court
    -Judiciary Act of 1789
    -13 district courts created in principle cities
    -3 circuit courts were created
    -above these courts was a Supreme Court
    -The Supreme Court was established with one chief justice and five associate justices
    -It's job is to interpret the laws and constitution
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    John Jay as Chief Justice

    -John Jay was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
    -He was a New York native and the former president of the Continental Congress
    -He was appointed by Washington
    -He later became the governor of New York.
    -Adams nominated him again to be Chief Justice but he declined the offer.
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    John Marshall as Chief Justice

    -Appointed by John Adams
    -Serving 34 years, he served the longest of any otehr chief justice
    -He established the Supreme Court as the final authority and interpreter of the Constitution
    -His decisions consistently favored a stronger central government
    -Some landmark cases included: Marbury vs. Madison; Fletcher vs. Peck; Martin vs. Hunter's Lease; Dartmouth College vs. Woodward; McCulloch vs. Maryland; Cohens vs. Virginia; Gibbons vs. Ogden
  • Marbury vs. Madison

    Marbury vs. Madison
    -William Marbury sued for his commission when Jefferson tried to get rid of him
    -Marshall ruled that Marbury had the right to his commission
    -However, Marshall also declared the Judiciary Act of 1789 was unconstitutional
    -This established the concept of Judicial Review
  • Fletcher vs. Peck

    Fletcher vs. Peck
    -Case involving land fraud in Georgia
    -John Peck purchased land in an invalid sale and tried to sell it to Robert Fletcher
    -Fletcher sued
    -Marshal decided that a state could not pass legislation invalidating a contract
    -First time the Supreme court declared a state law to be unconstitutional
  • Dartmouth College vs. Woodward

    Dartmouth College vs. Woodward
    -Involved law that changed Darthmouth College, in New Hampshire, from a privately chartered college to a public college
    -Marshall concluded that the state law was unconstitutional and that a contract for a private corporation could not be altered by state law.
  • McCulloch vs. Maryland

    McCulloch vs. Maryland
    -Maryland tried to collect a tax from the Second Bank of the United States
    -Imposed a tax on all banks not chartered by the Maryland legislature
    -James McCulloch was head of the Baltimore Branch and refused to pay the tax
    -Marshall concluded that Congress had the right to make the bank and Marlyland's law interfered with the power congress possesed.
    -A state could not tax a federal institution
    -"The power to tax is the power to destroy."
  • Gibbons vs. Ogden

    Gibbons vs. Ogden
    -Aaron Ogden purchased the right to operate steamboats from New York
    -He sued Thomas Gibbons for operating boats in the same water without permission
    -New York's actions were inconsistent with Congress' duty of regulating coastal trade
    -Marshall established the federal government's broad control of interstate commerce
  • Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia

    Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia
    -court decided it could not hear the Cherokees case
    -because they were an independent nation, but resided within U.S. borders, they could not be considered foreign nations
    -in the constitution it said that the court must hear cases of those in a "foreign" nation, not "indian" nations.
    -the court dismissed this case
  • Worchester vs. Georgia

    Worchester vs. Georgia
    -Court ruled that the laws of Georgia had no force within the boundaries of the Cherokee territory
    -Federal government ha the authority to make laws including indian nations, however states do not
  • Commonwealth vs. Hunt

    Commonwealth vs. Hunt
    -ruled that unions had the right ot negotiate labor contracts with employers
    -trade unions made legal
    -had the right to go on strike to raise wages and ban non union workers
    -This is significant because it legalized the American Labour Union movement
  • Dred Scott v. Sandford

    Dred Scott v. Sandford
    -controversial pro slavery decision
    -Dred Scott, a former slave, had been living free in Missouri for two years
    -He sued for his freedom
    -Court Decisions:
    -DredScott had no right to sue because Africans were not intrnded to be citizens
    -Since slaves were considered property, they did not have the right to deprive someone of there property
    -decided that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional
    -Declared all western territories open to slavery
  • Maples vs. Thomas

    Maples vs. Thomas
    -Can a law firm's mailroom mistake cost an inmate constitutional review of his death sentence in federal court?
    -Cory Maples lost the chance to appeal his death sentence
    -His attorneys left their firm and that firms mailroom returned an unopened court order
    -A district court denied Maples request for a late appeal
    -It was not Maples fault that the appeal was late therefore no one facing this situation should be penalized for another's mistake