"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

John Marshall

This 1809–10 portrait of John Marshall by Cephus Thompson hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.
“John Marshall, the fourth chief justice of the United States, established the concept of judicial review — in which the Supreme Court could pronounce a law of Congress as unconstitutional — and strengthened the idea of an independent federal judiciary. In cases brought to the Court between 1810 and 1824 — years in which the Marshall Court enjoyed great stability and harmony — Marshall used the Court's judicial review to nullify state laws violating constitutional restraints of state power. The effect of Marshall's long tenure as chief justice (1801-35) was to strengthen the Court, the Constitution, and the federal government. The Court became a preeminent interpreter of the Constitution, and the federal government's enumerated powers were given a broad interpretation and made superior to those of the states.

Cephas Thompson painted a portrait of Marshall from life in Richmond, as well as six replicas for admirers, two years after Marshall presided at the trial of Aaron Burr for treason.” — National Portrait Gallery

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