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tv   Supreme Court Landmark Case Marbury v. Madison  CSPAN  October 5, 2015 9:00pm-10:31pm EDT

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court's new term today, discussing the potential cases and later a look at how local businesses in colorado are dealing with the toxic river spill that occurred in august.
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exploring the human stories and the drama behind 12 historic supreme court decisions. number 759, ernest miranda, most famous decisions. >> it made the fight unpopular. let's go through a case that illustrates dramatically and visually what it means to live in a society of 310 different people that have helped to stick because they believe in the rule of law. >> good evening, and welcome to
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c-span new series, landmark cases. we will look at 12 cases that affected the country and the development of the court and society. tonight, our case is marbury v madison. one of the court's earliest cases, it came about between two founding fathers. that had differing views of how the country should be governed. we have two guests at the table to help us understand the story and the importance of the case in our history. we have a yale law school professor, he has been doing that since 1985. he is the author of several books. including america's constitution, a biography, and federal litigator and court observer, cliff sloan, the co-author of a book on marbury v madison. excuse me, to start, we are
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going listen to the current chief justice talking about the importance of this case, and then after we are hearing his point of view, we would like to hear from both of you as to why the case is significant. let's watch. >> john marshall established the court as the interpreter of the constitution. in his famous decision that he wrote in marbury v madison, he said, basically, we are a court, we have to decide cases. if in deciding a case we have to determine what the constitution means that is our job under the constitution. he regarded the constitution as law. that is one way that our constitution is different from a lot of others. many countries that have constitutions they are really just political documents. if you have a dispute under the constitution it will be resolved however disputes are going to be resolved, maybe in an election if you are lucky. force of arms if you are not. and maybe by the mob.
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john marshall in marbury v madison said it's different. the constitution is a political document, it sets up the political structures. but it's also a law. and if it's a law, we have the courts to tell what it means and that is binding on the other branches. and that important insight in to how the constitution works has been, i think, the secret to its success. >> that's the current chief justice on the meaning of marbury v madison cliff sloan, you wrote the book on it, what impact is does -- does this case have? >> because of this case, the supreme court is the ultimate authority of questions of constitutional interpretation. that is an important cornerstone of our constitutional system. sandra day o'connor put it well, saying because of marbury, v madison, each of us have
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constitutional rights that no president and congress can ever take away. and that's really what marbury stands for. >> your thoughts on why the case matters some. >> so, many of your audience have heard of this concept is, called judicial review, and it means in a nut case, the courts, all of them, state and federal and lower courts have the ability to disregard even an act of congress or state law if in the judge's view, that act of congress or state law is inconsistent with the judges understanding of the constitution itself. now, the interesting thing about judical review, although marbury is a first case about judgmenth was not that vigorous before civil is war, and marbury becomes more important, because
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as we look later in the story we read things in looking back, but perhaps it's a more narrow decision than we remember it being. >> you call it a story, and it is a story to tell, and any good story has a cast of characters. we will introduce you to names that you will hear throughout the 90 minutes and understand the role they played in the case coming to the supreme court. let's start with the principals. john adams, 1800, where was he in his political career? >> he was the incumbent president. he had been, he was elected in 1796, after serving two terms as vice president, under george washington. in 1796, it was if first contth contested presidential election. adams narrowly won and under the system that we had at the time, the person that got the second most electoral college votes served as vice president. so thomas jefferson was his vice president, and in the course of adams presidency, he and
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jefferson, had a very severe rivalry show up. and it was the first time we see the emergence of political parties in our country. in 1800, john adams was an embattled incumbent president. >> and thomas jefferson decides he wants the top spot. >> you have the sitting president running against the sitting vice president. think actually about the instability of that. in some ways, it didn't happen, but it's an aassassination incentive. you know, the perpendicular who is a heartbeat away is a vigorously opposed to the policies of the number one person. these are people that worked together. adams and jefferson, back in obsce 1776, they are on the committee
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that drafts the declaration of independence. they run against each other, and it's a relatively tame affair. jefferson tells the supporters, you know, listen, my turn will come, let's not bad mouth adams too much. now politics are more intense and polarized, this would never again in american history, polarized politics of course. with this polarization in politics you have the sitting president and sitting vice president,er both leading both camps, business political parties that don't really respect each other. and each one, each of the parties at the most extreme thinks of the other one as border line treasonness. that's the match up. >> what happened in the election? >> well there in also lies a tale. it's a bit convaluded, it's that
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bush/gore kind of roller coaster ride complication. in a nutshell, jefferson wins the south. he is the southerner. adams wins the north. he is the northerner. that happened 1796. the swing state, where north meets south, today it's ohio, back then, it's new york. which was a slave state and the second time around, jefferson park inert -- jefferson partners up with a man, and new york swings to jefferson, the southern camp, and it seems as if jefferson and his running mate, burr, have prevailed, but there's a wrinkle and i will let cliff tell you the wrinkle. >> the wrinkle was at the time, it was not clear if someone was voting for president or vice president, they cast their votes and as we said the person who got the second most came in --
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became the vice president, so what happened was that jefferson and burr got the same number of votes. >> a tie. >> it was a tie. >> and everybody sort of knew at the time of the election that jefferson was the main candidate. but then, after it becomes clear that there's a tie, well, aaron burr, is not so eager to just defer to jefferson, and because there's not a majority in the electoral college, it gets decided by the house of representatives with each state having one vote, and what you had happen in the election is that first of all, jefferson and burr had prevailed get the incumbent, adams, first time in history that an incumbent president was ousted by the election. and nobody knew who the successor would be. but the congress had been swept by jefferson's party and the house of representatives, that was going to decide who was going to be the president between jefferson and burr, was
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the out going federalist. the lame ducks. >> who had been repudiated. they were going to decide which of the jeffersonians would get the top slot. >> absolutely. and they are bitter against jefferson, it has just been a fierce campaign. i mean, as they were saying, we think politics is harsh and negative now. it has nothing, in the election in the 1800. you have the very angry federalists who think jefferson will take the country in a terrible direction. and they are the ones who are tasked with deciding whether it's going to be jefferson and burr and it leads to great chaos. the house of representatives cannot decide because of the composition of the delegations and it finally goes 37 ballots in just a couple of weeks before the new president is supposed to be inaugurated, before jefferson
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finally prevails. up until that point, there's great uncertainty and chaos throughout the country. and there's all kinds of rumors about what might happen in federalist plots that they will try to put a federalist in office. it was a great, it was a time of great uncertainty and it's all in a context where there had never been an incumbent president ousted in an election before. >> trying the constitutional system that was just in place for a short time and the next important principal in it was john marshall. he was second of state and appointed chief justice and held both positions at the same time. >> he is adam's right hand, as secretary of state and with the benefit of hindsight, when we look back, we can see, basically that secretary of states often become presidents. so thomas jefferson was a secretary of state. he is going to eventually hand over the presidency to james
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madison who was the secretary of state, and james monroe, and then john coincidenquincey adam. this could be good news for hilary clinton, john kerry did not quite prevail. but so john adams is -- john marshall is john adam's ally. he is also the new incoming chief justice. what happens is the deadline goes on and on and on. and come inauguration day, they are still dead liked, here is possibility, maybe, there's -- there's anonymous newspaper article that comes out that said, that maybe the one that
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should occupy the white house in that situation is the secretary is of state. john marshall. he is even mentioned as one of the people trying to nose himself in to this really complicated situation. but for, right as adam's administration is ending. jes yes, john marshall is both the secretary of state and the incumbent. >> adams nominates marshall and he gets confirmed by the senate, in late january 1801, becomes chief justice in phenomenon 1fe 1801, and john marshall is a lame duck appointment by the outgoing president. confirmed by the outgoing federalist senate. >> so the new president coming in, he has a majority in congress and learns that john adams finds a way to continue
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his point of view within the federal structure by the judiciary, tell us what did john adams do? >> john adams, who was somewhat bitter in nursing grievances about the defeat, he is determined to make as many appointments as he can before he leaves office and this is throughout the federal government, whether you are talking about the united states attorneys or postmasters. with the judiciary in particular, this out going lame duck congress, passes a new judiciary act, that creates a new level in the federal courts in 16 new judgeships and they do it late inip]ñ their time as a outgoing congress. john adams is feverishly feeling those posts nominating people to them and sending it up to the hill and at the same time that
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congress creates lots of new posts in the district of columbia, which was just the capitol in june of 1800. he has a whole raft of appointments in the district of columbia. he is staying up late until his last day in office. getting the appointments, up to the senate, getting them confirmed and his right hand man, on these appointments, is john marshall. now, chief justice, secretary of state, he is the person who is advising adams on the appointments and he is the one who is controlling the paper flow for them. >> and then, as the midnight oil burned the one thing that happened is not all of the commissions got delivered. that's the crux of the story. what happened? >> so, and just one wrinkle. we can talk about it two ways. in partisan terms, a federalist, the adams folks, they have lost the presidency. they have lost the house. they have basically, they have lost the senate, although it's
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more complicated. what do they try to do? they try to retreat to the judiciary, to resist the inku r incursions that they will launch. you have jefferson basically coming in. he will control the presidency and the house and also, the senate, but now, the judgmentic will be the ghosts of president's past that retreated in had to the judiciary, john marshall is responsible forgetting the new commissions out to their recipient and it's turns out that not all of them are properly delivered. they are signed by the almost midnight oil, as jefferson, as adams is about to become, you
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know, cinderella, you know, the coach is about to be a pumpkin and the horses are about to be mice, before the stroke of midnight, he signs them all. his secretary of state, and acting supreme court justice, chief justice also, john marshall seals them. they have been signed, sealed and remember the proverb, signed, sealed and delivered and they are not all delivered. and it gets better. the person that fails to deliver the commissions is none other than john marshall's brother james marshall who himself has been one of the new appointees under the midnight judge's regime. >> suffice it to say, he was not happy about the flooding of the judiciary, this is a letter he wrote to abigail adams explaining his frustration with john adam's midnight
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appointments. welcome to the massachusetts historical society. america's oldest historical society since the turn of the 20th century, home to a remarkable collection. about a quarter of a million manuscript pages. 300 years of one american family's experience. john and abigail adams and their descendents have their papers here n a series of archival boxes, containing their correspondence, their diaries and memoirs, stories of being farmers and democrats and citizens that were concerned about the american government and their justice system. you can read nearly 1,200 letters exchanged between john and abigail adams alone. showing how the country can transformed from revolution to republic. one of the most interesting correspondence was with thomas jefferson and today we will take a look at one of my favorite
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letters, written from thomas jefferson tom"q÷ abigail adams 1804 as the two tried to patch things up in the wake of the appointments. a family tragedy brought together thomas jefferson and abigail adams in june 1804, abigail wrote to express sympathies on the death of abigail's daughter. polly. he remind her that he and john had a long friendship and said, they had never stood in i'each other's way and spoke about the midnight appointments that had divided the pair. i can say with truth that one act of mr. adams life and one only ever gave me a moment's personal displeasure. i did consider his last appointments to office as personally unkind. they were from among my most ardent political enemies from whom no faithful cooperation can
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be can expected and laid me to act through men's views who were aimed to defeat mine. this one reads a little differently. often he comes across as a cool reserved level headed virginian, here, he is somewhat different. he is speaking to abigail as an intellectual equal and concerned about how politics ruptured his friendships. this frustration, shows up for years with thomas jefferson. >> well, he took -- both the appointments and the case for different reasons. i mean, they came together, but first of all, in terms of with adams. was indicated in the letter, jefferson took it very
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personally. i mean he had won the election and was taking over the government. and the judges, even in the executive branch. adams did everything that he could to pack it with his federalist allies and jefferson, in the whole series of letters to his political allies, this is what he is saying to abigail adams, you can imagine what he is saying to people that are allies, he is very, very bitter that he is inheriting a government that is packed with these people that, adams, has put there. and throughout his first several months in office. 1801 is, he is really trying to figure out what to do. he is kind of selectively, figuring out a way to block somebody or retract their appointment, he does it. and an example of how personally he took this. it was mentioned that james marshall could not -- >> john's brother.
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>> john's brother, james brother, could not deliver all of the commissions. the pile was too big and he left some on a table in the state department. and the ones that he left on the table, included those of william marbury and others that were supposed to be justice of the peace in the district of columbia. and a day or two after his inauguration, thomas jefferson himself goes over to the state department, and sees the stack of papers on a table, and starts looking at it -- >> and remember, he has been secretary of state earlier under george washington, so he knows how to office works. >> absolutely. he has familiarity with it. and he sees this stack of papers, realizes what they are, commissions that have not been delivered, and he says, do not deliver these. because he is determined if there's any way that he can stop some of these midnight appointments in some of the packing of the government, he is going to do so. so he personally is the one that said, do not deliver these. he took it very, very
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personally. >> which is another way of saying although the case which we have not yet quite gotten to as marbury v madison, in affect is marbury v jefferson. madison is the new secretary of state, he is just a place holder. jefferson's secretary of state, but madison is just doing what jefferson the telling him, so it's a lawsuit against the sitting president of the united states. like later on the nixon tape controversy. >> so, you -- we should tell you that the story ends amicably between jefferson and adams. the two men continue to correspond from their respective parts of the country through the rest of their years and they ended their lives on the same day. it's a wonderful footnote to their life stories.
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they both died to fourth of july. the 50th anniversary of the declaration of independence. they have come together at the end and we have to put a coda there. you write in your book. that despite the fact that thomas jefferson went over the state department. president jefferson never wanted to mire his presidency or the congress in a debate about the judiciary, it all changed when marbury filed suit. why? >> in december, 1801, william marbury and three other individuals who sort of drop out of case in the popular history, but who were supposed to be justices of the peace and their commissions were not clifred. they file suit against madison in his role of secretary of state in december, 1801, now, it's a very key period. because it's actually the first time that this new congress headed by the democrat i cic represent are c-- democratic
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republicans are sitting. it is the first time that the jefferson administration in the full breadth is getting together and marbury and the three others file suit in the supreme court and file a suit asking for a mandamma mandamus, othering them to take their jobs. and allow the commissions to be ordered. it is clear that all four of them are prominent active federalists and it's clear there's a political cast to this. and they are taking on jefferson in the jefferson administration by filing suit. the supreme court was at that point very far from a co-equal branch of government. it had no respect, no prestige and the supreme court sits and
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hears the arguments and their lawyer is charles lee who was the attorney general in the adams administration. and hen the supreme court issues an order to show cause and what that means is they are ordering madison, and jefferson, to justify their actions. and they say they are going to hear the case, when they sit again in june 1802. and this shocks the jefferson administration. because now, the supreme court is really sticking it to them, the supreme court is going to make them justify why they didn't deliver the commissions. and it's going to hear this lawsuit. and so, jefferson, and his allies react with a fury to that order to show cause. >> one of the things that will be important about the series is it's interactive. we invite your participation three ways. you can call us and we will go to calls in a few moments. the eastern and central time
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zone viewers can call us at: finally, our facebook page has an area where people are discussing the case and we will work in the comments as well. one other personal part of, this we should say, so the supreme court agrees to hear it with adam appointee, john marshall as the chief justice in the case. but he and madison have a family relationship and are political enemies. >> so, they are second cousins and they don't like each other month. that army experience is -- and
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remember, adams, marshall himself may be putting himself forward as a possible presidential alternative, if jefferson and burr, jefferson is the most popular federalist. adams is no longer popular. john marshall is the leader in the federalist party. there's all the politics and as their second cousins from virginia, marshall's mother-in-law was the former fiance or had been courted by jefferson, and there was bad blood there. so, there's that whole over lay on top of the -- if remember one final thing, it's marshall
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himself, who fails to affectuate the delivery of the thingz thi now he is hearing a case that he is a witness. so there's a question, truthfully by today's standards of whether john marshall should be hearing this case at all or he should recuse himself. not because he is a federalist. everyone is on one side of the other. not because he is friends of adams. he is a witness to the transaction involved and yet, he has shown no indication whatsoever that he needs to bow out of this. he is threatening, at least in the early stages, to issue the order to his successor madison and his rival, jefferson. >> john marshall's home was richmond, virginia, we traveled with our cameras there, and you
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will see his home and how they tá visitors. this house really gives us an insight in to the personality of john marshall. now, if you could imagine, this room which we call the large dining room was the first room that visitors to the house would have entered in to. it's quite a grand room. it would have been used for many different purposes. one of which was to house john marshall's early law practice. eventually, right outside the window, you would have been able to see his two-story brick law office. untilly that time, he use autoed this room to entertain his -- he used this room to entertain his clients. the desk you see here is john marshall's desk. it would have been in that two-story brick laws office. it would have been used by marshall to write when he was supreme court chief justice. he was well known for being a long winded writer so that would
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have taken place sitting here. john marshall would/p have been residence during his time as supreme court chief justice for a third of the year. this spot where i'm currently standing would have basically been the location that john marshall would have been at the head of the table in an event that was known as the lawyer's dinners. this event would have been held once a month whenever john marshall was in his richmond home. and if you can imagine, this being the head of a massive table that would have stretched all the way across this room, it would have been filled with the most prominent men in richmond at that time. and it was in this room that men like patrick henry, madison, monroe, jon jay, would have been discussing some of the most relevant philosophical, political topics, things that were being created in our early
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republic. on so, it's in this room, over lots of food and drink that many of the is decisions on to what our country would become were laid out. and certainly those discussion cs had to do with th supreme court and the direction of the country. in this section, we will talk more about the supreme court as john marshall found it. in 1800. and in fact, one of the viewers on facebook asked, what can we glean from the federalist papers about the framer's intentions of the scope of powers afforded the supreme court? >> well, the federalist papers are a series of newspaper op-eds of originally published under a pseudonym, it's jon jay, alexander hamilton. and james madison. and we pulled them later in to a
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book. and these newspaper op-eds tried to he persuade americans, during the year as the proposal was pending before the country, they try to persuade people to vote for the constitution and later on, john marshall among others would say, it's a very good statements of what the supports of the constitution thought it would be all about and it's a good resource. because the people had access to it, it's not a secret document. ordinary people had access to this when they were asked to vote yes or no on the document. the federalists, 78, there are about 85 essays in all was written by alexander hamilton, and it's a defense of judicial review.
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it's the ability for any court, lower federal court, state court, to disregard a law, sta8o law or an act of congress, if the judges view that law isud+v inconsistent with the constitution. hamilton said yes it in the constitution and it's a reason to vote for it. it's a good thing. critics had said dr. the ratification process, it's in the constitution and it's a bad thing meaning judges are too powerful and hamilton and others said, it's in the constitution, you are right. but it's a good thing, because it means that judges will enforce the constitution above everything else. >> it's a debate that remains today. and we will talk about that. >> there were six justices then and we will give the names john marshall, of course, samuel chase, william patterson. of new jersey, is that correct? >> yes. >> washington, was he related to george? >> he was a nephew.
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>> william cushing and alfred moore. was that a set number? >> yes. >> did they not anticipate there would be tie votes? >> the supreme court early on was not nearly so important as it is become. and so just that little number. and an even number, how odd from our point of view and that is one of many little signals that although they accepted judicial review, they did not think it would be the 800 pound ga rc go that it has become. >> where did they meet? >> it sort of symbol sizes the weak and meek. in washington, as it becomes the capitol, you have the president's house, which became the white house under construction. have you the capitol under construction. nobody had thought about where the capitol -- the supreme court was going to meet.
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it was that insignificant. and some of the people who are planning the city kept sort of raising this and they could not get the attention of anybody. including the secretary of state, john marshall. well once he becomes the chief justice, he is more interested in that question. and they end up giving the supreme court this very small bank committee room in the capitol. which they shared it with the local d.c. courts. so, that was the home of the supreme court. that was given late in the game. they are borrowing space. >> almost an after thought. remember, article 3, the judgment judicial is third out of three. article three is third out of three, it is the shortest article. as cliff said, it's amir is t g it is not set out in the constitution. it was six and then went down to
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five and cliff may want to tell us about that. it over time has gone up as much as ten.'dv fdr, very famously tried to tinker with it, with the number medical record to get a better set of outcomes from the justices. so, all of these seems to me are little signals that r in the original constitution vision, constitutional vision, the court perhaps and the judiciary, not quite as powerful as they have since become. >> want to get one more fact about this on the table before we get calls in. that is, that william marbury filed the case in 1801. >> yes. >> it took the court until 1803 to hear the case. but that is becausevene intervened, what did they do? >> remarkable part of the story. congress shut down the court. it talked about a reaction by the jeffersonians, to the order of show cause and the court
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setting it for resolution in union june 1802, the jeffersonians swing in to action and repeal the judiciary act and get rid of the midnight appointments that were made and the other thing they do, they change the supreme court schedule and say, it's not going to meet at all during 1802. it will not meet until february 1803, they are trying to get distance before the court hears what is expected to be a constitutional challenge of the repeal of the judiciary act, and getting rid of the midnight appointments. it was the only time that the supreme court was shut down for a year. >> did they send them back to hear cases? >> it is a shot cross the bow. it is trying give them time to think about it. in the same way you call a time-out before the other side
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tries to hit a field goal yes, they can't sit, they cannot meet as a supreme court and before they are going to meet again, the new law said you have to go back on the road, ride circuit as individual justices, and when you do all of that, under the new repeal law. you will in affect have been committed yourself to the legitimacy of the law. and you will have to do it before you have had a chance to consult with all of your colleagues on the supreme court. remember that the supreme court at the time, the justices really have two functions. they serve as the highest court within the system, and they also, as a collectivity, but they are also riding circuit as individual judges in different parts of the country. they are trying cases, and up and down the continent. >> and let me just say, the justices hated riding circuit.
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the roads were primitive and the condition cans were awful. they absolutely hated it. >> they had to go to inns, and share beds with other travele r ers. >> they were in a not great room in the capitol building. and before john marshall comes along t the justices do not speak with one voice. there's not an opinion of the court. individual justices say what they thirks but there's not a formal recording process in which all of these statements are automatically published in the united states reports. so, and, jon jay was mentioned earlier. marshall's predecessors, one of them, the first chief justice actually left the job because he would rather be governor of new york. so, it was not quite, and there were other justices who were running for governorships and
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other things while they were justices. it was not the plum job in washington, d.c. and part of the reason why is, because you had to spend a lot of time on the road. >> let me jump in, we have callers on the line. robin, you are one of the first callers tonight. hello. >> caller: i'm hoping you can clarify something one way or the other, can you tell me whether or not>jn'ñ this case was the o that decided the supremesy of the court, in terms of the court i have read on both sides. thank you very much. >> we may have a bit of a disagreement on that, cliff and i. the classic view is it did establish that. i tend to think that before marbury, it was pretty clear that there was supposed to be judicial review. you see it in '78 and justice it
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is riding circuit ruled on constitutionality. and even the supreme court had 5d>i# on constitutionality, an upheldggression -- the upheld congressional review. not the 800 pound gorilla, they are not going to strike down a act oft of congress. until dread scott. the court does not say, you will not find the sentence, that sentence does notadñ appear in reports until after world war ii. and the -- we have not got to marbury yet, but the technical issue is not about abortion or school prayer or obama care or
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the death penalty. it's about original versuses appellate jurisdiction. >> do you disagree? >> i do, and i think the answer to your question is yes, it is the case that establishes that. and two points on that. first, there's the very simple fact that cannot be contest theed that is the first time that the supreme court strikes down an act of congress as being unconstitutional and establishes that principal and indeed is the first time in the history of the world where a court had struck down, a statute of a coordinator brand in a national government it's the first time in the history when it happens. the opinion said it's the province and duty to say what the law is. the other point that is important, it is in the
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federalist and '78 and people had talked about it, but one point that i think, people tend to forget is that the federal judiciary had fallen in to sort of ill repute, they were hostile. they viewed it as the cool of the federalists and as a result, you see jefferson's allies, before the marbury decision and while the case is pending and some of them afterwards who are saying, there's nothing in the constitution that suggests that the supreme court has the power to declare a statute unconstitutional. >> we are at the half way point, so i need to tell you that for time. david, from oklahoma, your question? >> caller: yes, i agree with mr. sloan on his opinion on the significance of the decision. i also think that the united
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states of america is fortunate that this case came on early in the history, because previously, it had to -- there was a constitutional crisis there as to who was to decide if there was to be a bank of the united / states, it was also the alien sedition act under president john adams that created such a turmoil. and i think that the it ended with marbury v madison. if you have been to the supreme court, when you walk in there's a huge scuplture of john marshall. it leaves no doubt as to who was the most significant member ever of the supreme court. >> in the view of the court. who built the building. >> it is in the court and actually, david, i think both
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things that you mention cut against your point in a certain way. so -- so we people have been taught, oh, the supreme court is the ultimate interpreter of the constitution. um, well, not quite and i'm not endorsing kim davis here. but let's just, let's talk about the alien sedition /+cxcact. it was a law, john adams signed that, made it a crime to criticize the president and criticize the congress. that is dominated by the president's party. does not make it a crime to criticize the vice president, the leader of the other party. made it a crime for challengers to criticize is incumbents. and all these rules expired after the next election. it was a total violation of the first amendment and yet, and yet and yet. and federal justices, upheld the law against constitutional challenges again and again and
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again, you including samuel chase who is on the u.s. supreme court. who in the end drives a stake through the heart of the sedition act? the president,zb3x thomas jeffe, when he sweeps in to office and notwithstanding these judicial% orders, upholding the sedition act, he pardon ones everyone and he was the last word. and more in favor of liberty in the first amendment. and you mention the bank. the bank of the united states. the big controversial issue does not reach the united states supreme court until 1819. john marshall will had -- will uphold it. and jackson said you sid is it was constitution -- you said it was constitutional and i don't think so. sometimes they are the last word. >> richard is in oregon, hi,
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richard. >> caller: hello, how are you? >> great, sirqce#ñ is, your que for us? >>. >> caller: i'm a 35 plus year trial attorney, i particularly enjoyed the program for the way it puts a human context in. also, establishes the proxies and jefferson and marshall and establishes the authority of the court, which is finally becoming clear in the dread-scott case some 50 years later. so, i just wanted to say, thank you for such an important program. >> w . >> well, thank you for the call. dread-scott is the next case we will feature. >> this is a good time to talk about the center. we went to them and said, we would like to do this it's not our area of expertise. they have been helpful.
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the cases themselves, we have know enjoying the partnership and more weeks to go as we help you and us learn about the supreme court. one of the way that is john marshall sought to establish the supreme court is through even symbol im. we'll return to his house and look at one change he made that was very different from the english system of the courts. let's watch. >> these are john marshall's supreme court robes. this is the only surviving example of the -- his chief justice robes. so they're right around 200 years old. it's made out of black silk. and you can see here's the lapels and here are the sleeves here. and after -- after a couple hundred years, there starts to be some deterioration. these had been on display from
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1929 to the '90s when we realized the deterioration and needed to stabilize them. he would have worn this early in the tenure as supreme court chief justice. it's pretty much during this time period where he>tñv makes the sanctioned uniform sort to speak for the supreme court chief justices to wear black robes rather than the red robes that the english court would wear. so prior to john marshall's appointment as supreme court chief juice tis, it was pretty much up to each individual chief justice what they wanted to wear. many of the supreme court justices were wearing pretty much modified english court robes which would have been red. many of them also wearing the english court wigs and it was under marshall as supreme court chief justice he made it mandatory that the judges would all be wearing these black robes. this was really mainly to say that we're responsible for interpreting the constitution.
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this is not a show of power. this is -- we are of the people. we are not above the people. which is something that he was extraordinarily passionate about. >> demonstrates one of the many ways that marshall was thinking about how this court would become established in society. i want to walk through the essentials of the case because we have to get to that. when was it heard? >> so initially there was this proceeding in december 1801 and then it is heard again in february 1803, the next stage of the case. >> and it was hearted in capitol building that you described. >> yes. >> and it was conducted the way we hear cases today as oral argument or something else? >> it was different because it was an original action. marbury had filed suit in the supreme court under part of the judiciary act he said i can file an original action asking the supreme court for a mandamis and the supreme court had to have a
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trial to establish the facts so they had to have witnesses and so marbury's lawyer charles lee, the former attorney general, puts on witnesses. now, he has a bit of a problem because the?+xl÷ witnesses work the government and they're suing the government. there are these two clerks at the state department. well, they work for james madison but he puts them on as witnesses. they're very reluctant to testify. they object. they think they should haven't to testify about the inner workings of the executive branch and john marshall makes a series of very careful rulings. they can testify about the facts of where they're commissioned but not internal deliberations but there is basically an original trial going on in the supreme court. but there's one very unusual madison, thomas jefferson, they refuse to participate in it at
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all. they're showing total disdain for it. the attorney general, jefferson's attorney general, levi lincoln, did this in december 1801, also, he is in the courtroom but he's called upon by john marshall, he refuses to participate as a lawyer in the trial at all or to make any arguments. they're not going to dignify it by doing that but as the trial proceeds in february 1803, they actually call him as a witness to testify about whether he knows what happened to these commissions. and he very strenuously objects on various grounds to testifying and, again, john marshall makes a series of very careful rulings but very different from what you would see in the supreme court courtroom today. >> how aware was the capitol city and the rest of the country that this important case was going on? >> well, it's in public. we have a tradition of public trials and people show up. the most important witnesses in
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the case since it is a7)ñ triale named marshall. john marshall is really a witness and that's why, you know, from a certain point of view, don't do this at home, you know, kids. he should not have heard the case because he writes as if the facts just are clear. there's one person who actually knows from firsthand knowledge that the great seal of the united states affixed to the commission and that's john marshall's hand as secretary of state. but -- and james marshall, his brother submits an affidavit. when you read it carefully, it actually says i think marbury's was one of the commissions to deliver. i'm not exactly sure. so, so it's interesting. >> so, did all six of the justices participate? >> no. actually, two of the justices were ill and could not be there so there were only four of the six and took four to have a quorum and that then led to some issues.
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>> how many days did the trial take place? >> it took place over two days in february 1803. >> and then how long did it take for the court to deliver its opinion? >> well, it was 13 days later. and that seems by today's standards to be a very short period of time. at the time, the public was wondering what was taking the court so long because the supreme court tended to issue its rulings very quickly in short opinions. one thing akhil alluded to earlier and relates to the robes, a practice of john marshall was a practice of opinions for the court opposed to each of the justices just giving their own quick opinions so even though it was a relatively short period, a couple of weeks, there was speculation in the press about what's taking long. >> he's writing opinions and all getting together and wearing the same robes. he is trying to create something from the vapors this institution that we call the court instead
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of, you know, just a bunch of cat that is are being herded. so written opinions which the constitution doesn't require but has been a tradition since the marshall era. they all wear the same robes and try to get a majority at least for one statement of reasons. the opinion of a court. >> and remarkably, perhaps, he has them all staying in the same boardinghouse and -- >> like the dinner parties we talked about where -- >> exactly. >> and the wine flows and the conversation flows and he is a very charming host. >> very gregarious and i have to tell a story about the justices together in one boardinghouse because he instituting a rule to have the evening wine of the era if it was raining out and so each night he would have a justice go to the window and report and frequently justice say, it looks very clear out there. he would say the jurisdiction is so vast it must be raining somewhere.
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>> yeah. >> let's take a call from miguel in corpus christi, texas. hi, miguel. are you there? all right. let me move up to lydia up next in irving, texas. you're on the air. >> caller: hi. i am just curious about something and that is that doesn't the -- are you there? >> yes, we're listening. >> caller: oh, okay. doesn't the constitution reign supreme over the federal papers papers written and published? i don't understand that. >> thank you. >> sure. but the federalist papers might help understand what the words of the constitution mean and were understood as meaning to the generation that ratified it. but of course, yes. the constitution is the supreme law of the land. the federalists peeps are a u useful aid or guide to understanding what it meant originally. >> janet in georgia. your question, janet? >> caller: yes.
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my question for mr. amar. we are having a lot of -- how are we related to the sharia law now? a lot of the --i religions here, like that are prominent in the united states. that they want to use their own law at the courts. like the sharia law and the jewish -- >> janet? how does this connect into marbury versus madison? >> caller: yeah. i don't think that there is a connection. >> okay. we're going to -- we're going the stop. thank you so much. we don't have time to bring it in to today's -- >> let me say. john marshall swears in thomas jefferson. because he's chief justice and the two men don't like each other very much. cliff's book has a very engaging story of marshall turning the back on jefferson but here's the amazing thing about the oath. it doesn't require any profession of religion. you're allowed to say so help me
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god if you like. you don't have to. two of the folks up there on mt. rushmore including jefferson and lincoln were not conventional churchgoers. ours is a system mr. jefferson would want to understand there's no religious test for public office. >> when the chief justice delivers the opinion, the case is boiled down to three central questions. the first was, did marbury have a right to his commission. the court said, what? >> yes. he had a right to his commission. >> question two, if he had a right and the right violated, did the law provide a remedy for him? >> yes. he did. on both of these questions, marshall is very clear that he thinks that the jefferson administration and jefferson have acted against the law, that they were duty bound to give them the commissions once they were duly appointed. and so, it is actually the harshest criticism of a presidential administration in a
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supreme court opinion up until that point. >> and question number three, and here's the part where everyone looks to the thinking, the -- of the chief justice, point three, if the law provided a remedy, was the proper remedy this mandamis or direct order of the supreme court? it was on this point number three john marshall decided what and this case became historic? >> so, remember, we are making marshall's ordering of the issues. you know, from a proper point of view, here's the first question, can john marshall sit? no. he should have recused himself. he has firsthand knowledge of fact. the second issue in the case, does the court have jurisdiction? does it have the power to even hear the case? if it doesn't have jurisdiction, it's a bunch of people in black or other colored robes telling other folks what to do without authority so from a modern point of view john marshall inverted everything. why? in order to score a bunch of political points against
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jefferson in some ways. at the end of the day he is going to pull back and at the end of the day he says, ah. even though jefferson and madison did is totally illegal in all these ways, he says we don't have jurisdiction and we don't have jurisdiction because the congressional statute that could be read as giving us jurisdiction is actually unconstitutional and our job is to give effect to the constitution even if that's at the expense of a congressional statute. now, from a modern point of view, if that's true, he should have probably decided that at the very beginning as either the first or the second question. even before that he probably should have said am i?9g entitl to hear the to wbm@use? recusal. >> he went on to declare the court's authority and i have a paragraph to read because it's heart of it. he wrote and read, it is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department
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to say what the law is. those who apply the rule to particular cases must of necessity expound and interpret that rule. if two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each. a law repugnant to the constitution is void and the courts and other departments are bound by that instrument. z we have it. >> and note two things. he says courts, not the supreme court. there's not a wording in the opinion that really is about the unique powers of the supreme court opposed to all the other judges in the system. note also he says as well as other departments. we today have tended to read marbury as if he's making unique claim about how only courts are only the supreme court in context i do think marbury is actually better read as saying courts along with other folks are bound by the constitution and just as, you know, a congress can't tell us how we have to rule, there are certain domains in which other branches
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of government might be able to make independent constitutional determinations like jacksonp vetoing the bank bill or jefferson pardoning the sedition act convicts. >> well, i do think he is saying very clearly that at all of the departments do have a responsibility to evaluate the constitutionality. but at the end of the day, the final word, it is 'em fattically the judicial department to say the law. that's the heart of marbury and that's why it's been a beacon in our own history and the supreme court at times of great stress like the nixon tapes case or in forcing brown versus board of education invoked that in marbury, been an example around the world. states it very clearly. it is emphatically the province of the judicial department. >> as we said, the chief justice wanted it unanimous of the other four justices sitting in,
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marshall, chase, paterson and washington joined in the opinion which was read. you have to tell the story of how it was read. that's hard to imagine. it was in a boardinghouse. yes? >> yes, yes. they were staying at steal's boardinghouse which was across the street from the capitol. it's where the library of congress currently is. and they were staying there. now, two justices were not in washington because they were sick. and so, there were only four justice us there. it takes four justices for a quorum. samuel chase came down with a very painful case of the gout and he could not hobble across the way to the capital. and so, the supreme court tried to convene but they only had tree justices and didn't have a quorum. and so then at a certain point, marshall had a realization. if old bacon face can't come to the court, the court's going to
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come to him and hold the supreme court in the parlor of stell's hotel. it's lot going on at the time. there are dancing assemblies.c% there's a traveling dentist staying there who set up shop there. but in the parlor of stell's is where marshall reads this most famous of supreme court opinions marbury versus madison. >> and the longest. 9,400 words. you said and he read the entire thing to the assemblage taking him probably how long? did you ever time it snout. >> no. and not sure but i think it was at least a couple hours and one thing that's important and a sense of hydra ma reading it because as you were going through the three questions, it looks like he's going to really issue a sweeping rebuke to the jefferson administration and order them to deliver the commissions and there would be a square confrontation between marshall and the supreme court and jefferson. and it was very possible that jefferson would just defy them
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and the supreme court was very weak and so he's going through the questions. yes, marbury has a right to the commission. yes, he has a right to a remedy. and then he gets to that last point and says, but the statute doesn't give us jurisdiction. therefore, we can't rule in marbury's favor. >> or the statute does unconstitutional. >> yes. exactly. so therefore we can't give him this order. and so the result is that technically jefferson and madison win and marbury loses but there's an awful lot in the opinion that is all about how marbury was right and they were wrong and each side wins some, loses some. and that actually was a very important aspect of marbury, also, because a lot of people at the time thought that the supreme court was just going to be a very predictable political actor. all federalist appointees. people expected they were just going to do the expected
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federalist action. and instead, with this kind of mixed decision in addition to being the first decision that strikes down the statute as unconstitution, they seem to be acting as a court rising above politics and weaving in a range of legal issues. >> at the very least pulling back at the last moment. remember, as cliff said, marbury -- madison refuses to show up in court. jefferson is not -- they might not accept a court order. they might not carry it out an maybe the best-case scenario. here's intermediary case scenario. at the same time there's impeachment proceedings in the pipeline against a lower court judge and actually soon thereafter a supreme court justice. none other than old bacon face.
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so best-case scenario might be to issue the piece of paper and jefferson laughs in your face and what are you going to do? best case. middle case, you issue this piece of paper and not only do they try to impeach a lower court justice and a clerk and go after you. worst-case scenario, we know it doesn't come to this, they don't know how it happens, there was a french revolution that just happened and heads had rolled and jefferson kind of said very airily, well, you know, you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs. we know that jefferson isn't -- but john marshall can't be 100% sure that it's not going to end very, very badly, indeed. so there's some prudence here, as well. he doesn't push it too hard even though it is a political scolding of epic proportions. >> miguel is watching us in connecticut. hi, miguel. your question? >> caller: hello? >> yes. you are on. >> caller: hello? can you hear me? >> yes. we can.
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>> caller: i'm calling from corpus christi. >> okay. go ahead, sir. your question? >> caller: yes. good evening. thank you for doing this. i think jefferson and the others were quite shocked when they realized the implications of the opinion because my understanding that state legislatures could override their supreme court decisions and i think jennifer son would thought would happen. my question to the panel is, one of the books that i remember reading i found just wonderful was "john marshall biography" and which reads like a french novel. and i just wanted to know what their opinion was regarding that book which, again, it is a wonderful, wonderful book. >> thank you, miguel. our time is short so i'll find out what our guests think of
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that biography. >> yeah, no. it is a terrific biography. for there are a number of them. he would have been tremendous company and he enjoyed people. seems like just about everybody but thomas jefferson and he was -- and he was brilliant. there's another biography by gene smith which is terrific. he's just a very, very interesting character but that's one of the one that is really bring him to life. >> a quick question from twitter, the more we hear about this case, the more it seems it's creation of marshall's will. is this american? >> no. i'm critical of some aspects of it but judicial review is not made up at all. it's very well established, in fact. in states and, in fact, contrary to what miguel said, state legislatures before marbury did not generally have the ability to overturn state court rulings
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that state laws had violated state constitutions. so cliff earlier said marbury is the first at the national level of the supreme court. the supreme court itself justicesnkfñ riding circuit ha invalidated congressional statute. so marshall is1op not making u judicial review at all. he's pulling a fast one in certain ways because if he doesn't, you know, his branch is going to vanish into nothing. the federalists never heard from again and trying to rally the troops as he's retreating and one thing you heard us talk about is even though marbury is seen as judicial review, courts against congress, much of the drama here and in later supreme court opinions, some of the most important, is going to be courts against the president. >> we have 15 minutes to talk about the importance of this case. >> let me just one thing about john marshall and akhil mentioned the recusal point a
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few times. just for everybody to understand, recusal is when a judge says, i can't sit on this case because i have a personal interest in it and the standards for recusal were very different at the time. in today's world, that's no question to anybody that somebody shouldn't sit with a personal involvement. the standards for recusal at that time, definitely with a financial interest and beyond that it was very sort of vague and murky and one of the things that's telling about that is in the whole sequence of marbury and its aftermath, including jefferson's very bitter criticism of it, the rest of his life, he never raised that as a point and everybody knew it and nobody -- and there were people who wrote articles in newspapers attacking marbury and attacking marshall on many grounds. nobody raised that. so to the contemporary ears and eyes at the time, it didn't occur to people that he should have recused. >> so on to the impact of this case both at the time and today.
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i'm going to start with today because judicial review is still being debated in this country. we have two points 0 of view to show you. first from the supreme court route bader ginsburg talking about the importance of marbury versus madison. let's listen. >> marbury-madison is -- is probably the most famous case this court ever decided. all people who serve government take an oath to support and defend the constitution. but this court has the last word on what that constitution means. that is not the typical pattern in parliamentary systems where the legislature will have the last word. on what the fundamental instrument of government means. the idea of judicial review for constitutionality i think is
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implicit in the constitutional document. but john marshall made it explicit in the great case of marbury against madison. >> and we also traveled to capitol hill to talk to the chairman of the house judiciary committee, a republican of virginia. here's some of what he had to say. >> well, i think the court has and i think mistakenly relying on marbury for something that goes dwrond what the actual decision made gone too far in a number of decisions with regard to getting involved in constitutional decisions or other decisions that are either constitution and yet they found something there or not finding something that i think most people today looking back would have found that it should have been there. >> that's /oñ a congressman bob
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goodlat goodlatte. i would like to show you a number of decisions over the years that have cited marbury as precedent and as they made the decision. in fact, we found that marbury cited by the court over 200 times but there are a number of key cases some of them very recent in which marbury versus madison was cited and they include baker versus carr in 1962. saying that the supreme court can hear reapportionment cases and featured in the series.pv griswold v. connecticut 1965 recognizing the right of privacy. our guests mentioned earlier, u.s. v. nixon which said that executive privilege in the case of the nixon tapes is not absolute. u.s. v. windsor, defensive marriage act in 2013 is count constitutional. last year, most recently. king v. burrwell the health care law review. long tentacles in the court.
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amy mulligan asks, should we as americans be concerned about judicial review becoming judicial activism? >> well, the very important point is that judicial review is an essential cornerstone of our system. former chief justice rehnquist said it was the greatest gift americans ever gave to the science of government. it is an important principle. but that doesn't mean we agree on how that power of review is exercised and there are going to be and should be healthy disagreements about that. and frequently, if somebody doesn't like the outcome of a decision of the supreme court, that invalidates an action they view that as judicial activism from whichever perspective. so there should be a very, very vigorous discussion about how the supreme court exercises that
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jurisdiction. but the fact it has that authority to provide the last word on constitutional issues is i think a very important protector of our liberty. >> akhil amar? >> since you mentioned king versus burrwell, i want to give a shoutout to chief justice roberts who began our conversation. there have been four times in american history basically when a new president representing a sort of rising political force has confronted a court that represents the old political force. ghosts of presidents past. and the first is jefferson confronting marshall and there's this confrontation and marshall to his credit he pokes jefferson little bit but at the last minute he shows some prudence and doesn't try to destroy -- pick a huge fight. this is going to happen again getting the dread-scott case.
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roger tawny representing the democrat party, what becomes the jeffersonians, he is opposed to abray hamlin con the anti-slavery person and again this dramatic inauguration with the ghosts of the old regime meeting the new president and a confrontation there and then a third time fdr is going to confront all these judges from republican administrations past and there's going to be a crisis. and the fourth time is john roberts representing basically a lot of republican presidents, who dominate -- whose appointees dominate the court and could havetaajç picked a fight withba obama and twice he declines to validate the platform of obama, what he ran on, obamacare. and in so doing, he like john marshall took the court out of politics a little bit. it was not partisan.
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he joined actually with folks on the other side and i like to think it's maybe because he studied marbury versus madison when he went to the same law school i think you did and it's possible he borrowed a page from the great chief justice. >> on this point of judicial review and judicial activism, there was a companion case to marbury versus madison that is almost never heard of or talked about called stuart versus laird and in that case there was a constitutional challenge to the statute that the jeffersonians passed repealing the judiciary act, making justices ride circuit again and again a lot of people expected the federalist justices to strike that down as constitutional. they thought that's where the court's assertion of its power to invalidate statutes was going to come. and the supreme court very quietly in a brief opinion upheld the constitutionality of that statute two weeks after
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marbury versus madison and what that showed the supreme court was going to exercise it judicially and not political purposes. >> today if you go to the national archives, millions of people do every year, they have the area where the great documents of our government are on display. they have got the mag that carte, the declaration of independence and constitution and documents of marbury of madison. does it belong there? >> i think it absolutely does. it comes after the bill of rights and the constitution and the explanatory statement there says it's because it's a cornerstone of our constitutional system and i think it absolutely is. >> what also really belongs there, if we want to understand modern-day judicial review, we care more about many of us rights of individuals rather than original versus appellate jurisdiction, and but we call the bill of rights all the big cases about liberty, many of us
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which are going to be in your series, a lot of them aren't the bill of rights about the federal government but about states of the 14th amendment and the reconstruction and i want us to remember mr. lincoln alongside that because his generation gives us a new birth of freedom, a second founding to launch a very vigorous project of judicial enforcement of rights against all levels of government. that's what marbury has become today even though it wasn't actually that robust at the important because of the reconstruction, because of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. >> in fact, four of the cases we selected of the 12 are 14th amendment related cases and we have heard, for example, senator leahy called it the second founding of america when the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments were faszed. we have about seven minutes left and i have so much more to do and quickly here.
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let me take a call from cat in church view, virginia. you are on the air. >> caller: hi. my question is, if adam and jefferson were friends then how did adam justify the actions kind of went against jefferson and the presidency in the whole, like, debate thing? >> okay. thanks. we spent sometime on that in the beginning. how did he justify his actions? they had been friends and then they became fairly bitter political enemies. and adams from his perspective when he had been defeated and he saw jefferson and the jeffersonians coming in, he was worried about the future of the country and as he was putting all these federalists into government and trying to ensure that they were there in the courts from his perspective, he was safeguarding the last bastian because he was very fearful of what was going to happen to the country and talking about before, fortunately they reconciled before the end. >> one thing really to give him
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his due, he leaves. he doesn't try to hold over and defy the will of the electorate and that's a historic first. since you were mentioning these historic firsts, marbury is important. a first of sorts. one political party losing fair and square to another at a national level and actually yielding power to its political rival, that's a pretty new and, you know, that gives the world an amazing lesson it seems to me. and give adams his due in that regard. and remember, he's worried the french revolution, he doesn't -- you know, is it going to spiral out of control? this is maybe even self protection on his part. mistaken but, you know, just to give him his due. >> considered the appointment to the supreme court one of the crowning achievements of his presidency. we'll show you next a letter that adams wrote to john marshall in the waning days of his life. >> in 1801, following four years
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of servinging as president of the united states, jn adams would leave washington, d.c. and once again return home to his home at peace field where we are today. he would spend the next 26 years of his life at peace field with his beloved wife abigail and their children and grandchildren. this was a very lively house. it is where they spent most of time. john adams left this house very few times. during john adams' presidency, abigail spent her time here at peace field. during this time, she would make an addition to the house. we call it a 1800 wing with a study on the second floor where john adams could entertain his mine. it was from this desk that john adams would correspond with thomas jefferson and shared over 300 letters in their lifetime. in one of the earliest, adams writes to jefferson, you and i ought not die before we have a chance to explain ourselves to one another.
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many of the letters were the lifeline for john adams to the outside world. he loved to receive letters, he loved to write them and sometimes he was even surprised with a gift including from his old friend john marshall who he appointed as chief justice of the united states. john mar shl presented squlochb adams with a copy of his book he had just written on the life of george washington. john adams at the desk and writing to john marshall that he has received this gift. he writes, dear sir, the extreme imby silty of old old must be my apology for nekting to write an thank you for the book. it's not for want of esteem or respect or admiration that i have not written frequently to you. there is no part of my life that i look back upon with more pleasure than the short time i spent with you. and it is the pride of my life that i have given to this nation a chief justice equal to koch or
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hail, halt or mansfield. i'm your friend and well wisher though on the part of departure, john adams. >> so john -- the chief justice john marshall served on the court for 34 years and referred to as the sitting court justice called them great chief justice. what was his next several years like? did he decide many other cases? one book i read made the point establishing this principle, he became more powerful than the next three presidents of the united states. would you go that far? >> no. i don't think -- i don't think that's the right way to look at it. john marshall's legacy is that he created the sport as a co-equal branch of government and in marbury, the principle of judicial review and invalidating a federal statute. there's a series of other opinions for supreme court's authority to review state supreme court decisions, where
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he defines the contours of national power including congressional power. but through his -- the scope of his opinions, his brilliance and also his personality, he toork what was this very lowly, disdained court and really turned it into the supreme court of the united states. >> what should we remember him for? >> here's one thing in addition to what cliff said. i can't remember who it was who basically said, 90% of life is just showing up. john marshall shows up. he just stays for a very long time. 34 years. that is#rbc predecessor john ja left. the next guy oliver elseworth left. so imagine an alternative universe, because when you look at the constitution, there is not a term limit for the presidency until the 20th century, until after fdr.
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imagine a world in which presidents are ree leblgted presidents for life. we do vent that because george washington steps down after two terms and adams leaves office peacefully. and then jefferson steps down and madison and monroe and a tradition begins but washington established that. and his great biographer is none other than john marshall. so washington establishes it. we won't have a presidency for life. john marshall really puts kind of a different spin on life tenure. good behavior. he doesn't cut an run. he stays and stays and stays and works with new appointees, basically jeffersonian appoin e appointees and tries to create a nonpolitical court above party and he just -- he stays and so a lot of life is just showing up. >> you know what happened to james madison's political career.
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what about william marbury? >> whatever happened to james marbury? i always get that question from my students. >> marbury continued to be very active in business affairs in washington, d.c. over the course of the next 30 years or so. he had his hand in lots of different business ventures, a bank, a place that imported suits from england. but, you know, the house that marbury lived in during this time still stands. it's in georgetown. it's actually the embassy of ukraine today. and you can see it there. it was basically marbury's command post during this entire period. >> well, special thanks to our two terrific guests for our first and our landmark cases. akhil amar and cliff stone. lots more discussion about the supreme court. thank you for starting it off with us. we appreciate. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> and thanks to viewers. your questions make this interesting. we hope you'll be with us throug t

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