The Marshall Court (1801–35)


Whose attacks in the press caused Marshall to write anonymous replies under the name “A Friend of the Constitution?”

Spencer Roane, a jurist on the Virginia Supreme Court, attacked the Marshall Court for several of its rulings. Roane’s attacks intensified in 1819 after the Court’s decision in McCullough v. Maryland, which Roane viewed as yet another attack on state sovereignty. Roane and friend William Brockenbrough wrote essays in the Richmond Enquirer, heavily criticizing the Court’s decision. Marshall responded with a series of newspaper editorials signed as either “A Friend of the Union” or “A Friend to the Constitution.”


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