January 31, 1801 – John Marshall is Appointed Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

On this date in history, John James Marshall was appointed by President John Adams to be the fourth Chief Justice of the United States. Marshall dominated the Supreme Court for over three decades, serving as Chief Justice during all or part of the administrations of six presidents: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. He helped to establish the Supreme Court as the final authority on the meaning of the Constitution in cases and controversies that must be decided by the federal courts.

John Marshall

John Marshall

President John Adams is said to have told Marshall’s son in 1826, “My gift of John Marshall to the people of the United States was the proudest act of my life. There is no act of my life on which I reflect with more pleasure.”

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