Seriatim: The Supreme Court Before John Marshall

Overview

Seldom has American law seen a more towering figure than "the great Chief Justice," John Marshall. Yet even while acknowledging the indelible stamp Marshall put on the Supreme Court, it is possible - in fact necessary - to examine the pre-Marshall Court, and its justices, to gain a true understanding of the origins of American constitutionalism. The ten essays in this tightly edited volume were especially commissioned for the book, each by the leading authority on their particular subject. The result is a window ...
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Overview

Seldom has American law seen a more towering figure than "the great Chief Justice," John Marshall. Yet even while acknowledging the indelible stamp Marshall put on the Supreme Court, it is possible - in fact necessary - to examine the pre-Marshall Court, and its justices, to gain a true understanding of the origins of American constitutionalism. The ten essays in this tightly edited volume were especially commissioned for the book, each by the leading authority on their particular subject. The result is a window onto the origins of the most powerful court in the world, and onto American constitutionalism itself.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Profiles ten Chief Justices of the US Supreme Court who served during the last years of the 18th century, before the time of John Marshall, whose towering figure has tended to overshadow all who came before him. The goal is to reconstruct the baby steps of American constitutionalism and to correct the impression that the court was born full grown. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher

"A wonderful book that challenges the idea that the Court did nothing of importance prior to Marshall's appointment; . .&nbsp. it seems destined to become a staple source for the Court's first decade."

-Supreme Court Historical Society Quarterly,

"This absorbing collection of essays . . . goes far toward filling a void in the literature on the early justices of the world's most significant tribunal."

-Law and Politics Book Review,

"This creative and imaginative analysis of America's first national jurists is recommended for all students of Supreme Court history."

-Choice,

"Professor Gerber's Seriatim is a genuinely welcome work, an imaginative one, and a distinctly needed one. The pre-Marshall period had all-too-long been neglected and when addressed at all, it was usually done in cursory, brief compass. Gerber has done a splendid job in securing experts to analyze the labors and persona of the ten pre-Marshall jurists on our highest bench, and his introduction to the essays is a model of synthesis and clarity."

-Henry J. Abraham,James Hart Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs, Emeritus, University of Virginia

"This useful collection of biographical essays, bracketed by splendid treatments of John Jay and Oliver Elsworth, goes a long way toward establishing that the first justices of the Supreme Court were an impressive collection of political and constitutional thinkers who did much, before and during their service on the Court, to construct the constitutional order."

-Mark Tushnet,Georgetown University Law Center

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814731147
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/1998
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Douglas Gerber, Ph.D., J.D., is author of To Secure These Rights: The Declaration of Independence and Constitutional Interpretation and editor of Seriatim: The Supreme Court before John Marshall, both available from New York University Press. He teaches at Ohio Northern University College of Law.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introduction: The Supreme Court before John Marshall 1
2 "Honour, Justice, and Interest": John Jay's Republican Politics and Statesmanship on the Federal Bench 26
3 John Rutledge: Distinction and Declension 70
4 Deconstructing William Cushing 97
5 James Wilson: Democratic Theorist and Supreme Court Justice 126
6 John Blair: "A Safe and Conscientious Judge" 155
7 James Iredell: Revolutionist, Constitutionalist, Jurist 198
8 William Paterson: Small States' Nationalist 231
9 The Verdict on Samuel Chase and His "Apologist" 260
10 Oliver Ellsworth: "I have sought the felicity and glory of your Administration" 292
11 Heir Apparent: Bushrod Washington and Federal Justice in the Early Republic 322
Editor's Note 351
Contributors 353
Index 355
About the Editor 362
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