Thomas Jefferson


What famous jurist did not get along with Jefferson?

John Marshall, a fellow Virginian, did not get along well with Jefferson, even though the two were distant cousins. Marshall was a Federalist and a supporter of President Adams. Adams later nominated Marshall as the fourth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. During one of his last acts as president, Adams created more than two hundred new judicial posts and attempted to fill them with Federalists.

Upon taking office, Jefferson ordered his secretary of state, James Madison, to withhold the commissions. William Marbury, one of those would-be federal judges, sued to have Madison deliver his commission. The celebrated case of Marbury v. Madison (1803) came before the U.S. Supreme Court. Marshall technically ruled for Jefferson, disallowing Marbury’s commission, but criticized the actions of Jefferson and Madison and exclaimed that the judicial branch had the power to review actions of the executive and legislative branches—a power known as judicial review.


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