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Aphies so often seem to suffer from literary
Brookhiser s style is clear cut and 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 of course numerous ways to approach a biographical subject Brookhiser makes 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 An Allegheny Homecoming 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 #that all the Justices room together while in Washington discussing cases over wine and darts Brookhiser argues that his leadership 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 Edmonds. 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. 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 Law by Leonard Barker and John Marshall Defender a Nation by Jean Edward Smith each a longer and detailed account #Of Marshall S Life And #Marshall s life and 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 beginning in 1801 Up until such time as Marshall assumed the post the Supreme Court lacked clout dignity or any semblance of euality among the three federal branches of government ruling the United States of America Richard Brookhiser wrote John Marshall The Man Who Made the Supreme Court as a chronicle of Marshall his effect on the court and the legacy his time upon the court had in establishing the legitimacy of the court in AmericaAs far as political temperament and philosophy John Marshall was a member of the Federalist Party Notable early Federalists included presidents George Washington John Adams and Alexander Hamilton President John uincy early Federalists included presidents George Washington John Adams and Alexander Hamilton President John uincy held beliefs of the Federalists though it is not nowable to say that the son of the second president of the United States would have been elected president if the Federalist Party still existed in 1824In calling out party it is important to emphasize that the story Richard Brookhiser tells within this biography is one of John Marshall s politics and his role in normalizing the functioning of the Supreme Court While George Washington may have sought a one party system party was a political force by the time of Marshall first assumed a lead role on the court In fact Marshall s cousin and third president of the United States Thomas Jefferson was on the opposite side of the aisle in what today is the Democratic Party Jefferson and Marshall were in freuent opposition regarding interpretations of law and the course disputes of law should take Brookhiser the author has never been a lawyer either in training or practiceAccording to review of the book by legal scholar Garrett Epps as published in The Washington Post we learn this about Marshall and the biography Marshall s great talent was his legal creativity which takes hard work for a layperson or lawyer to appreciate Brookhiser also underestimates the chaos and danger of the politics that he does highlight Perhaps for that reason he doesn t give Marshall his full dueEpps rightly goes on to indicate that John Marshall The Man Who Made the Supreme Court is entertaining and instructive We get to see Marshall s career in the United States Revolutionary War his time as Secretary of State to president John Adams and then his thirty four years as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court The tenure as Chief Justice commenced when Thomas Jefferson took officeSome distinguishing cases in Marshall s career included the following as uoted from Epps In McCulloch v Maryland he laid out the contours of Congress s commerce power in Burr v United States he blunted the law of treason as a tool to punish political enemies in Dartmouth College v Woodward he anchored the constitutional underpinnings of contract law in Johnson v M Intosh Cherokee Nation v Georgia and Worcester v Georgia he gave birth to the entire field of federal Indian lawEpps is perhaps hardest on Brookhiser and strongest in support of Marshall in this But his most important creation is the doctrine of Marbury v Madison the idea that the Supreme Court has the power and the duty to invalidate acts of Congress that it finds in conflict with the Constitution That result was by no means inevitable to reach it Marshall had to navigate a treacherous political landscape If Brookhiser aims to reveal the politics surrounding Marshall s career he disappoints somewhat at this point A fuller political profile of the Marshall years would give the reader of the scope of his unlikely triumphThe book does give some glimpse into perhaps the most disagreeable portio. 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.
elephantiasis brookhiser s style is clear cut and