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In 1789, the first U.S. Senate bill—the Judiciary Act—was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George Washington, officially establishing the Supreme Court. The third branch of the government was initially composed of six justices: a chief justice and five associate judges, al…

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Considered the first significant case decided by the Supreme Court, Chisholm v. Georgia saw Alexander Chisholm suing the state of Georgia over payment due to him for supplying goods during the Revolutionary War. The court decided in favor of the plaintiff, holding that private citizens could…

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Commonly regarded as the most influential chief justice of all time, John Marshall was appointed to the court by President John Adams in 1801. A Virginia native, Marshall did more than any other justice to shape the Supreme Court’s relationship to other branches of the government, and adhere…

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Perhaps the most important case argued in the Marshall Court, Marbury v. Madison established the process of judicial review, which allows Americans to strike down laws they find in violation of the Constitution, which, in these terms, is defined as the law itself, not just a collection of id…

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Samuel Chase holds the distinction of being the only Supreme Court justice to have ever been impeached. In 1804, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Chase, citing the fact that his partisan leanings had an unjust impact on his rulings. However, the Senate refused to uphold the impe…

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The youngest person to ever be appointed to the Supreme Court, Joseph Story was 32 with no prior judicial experience when he took his oath in 1811. One of the most renowned scholars to ever serve on the court, Story was Marshall’s right-hand man, writing many of the opinions that were produc…