Brett Kavanaugh's roller-coaster path to the Supreme Court captivated America. But this was not the first time the country's highest court was such a fierce battleground. John Marshall, appointed Chief Justice in 1801, would hold the post for a record 34 years, during which he made the weakling of the federal government a voice of authority—and a focus of bitter ideological contention.
In John Marshall, historian Richard Brookhiser vividly chronicles the life and times of America's most important judge. Through three decades of dramatic cases involving businessmen, scoundrels, Native Americans, and slaves, Marshall defended the federal government against unruly states, established the court's right to rebuke Congress or the president, and helped unleashed the power of American commerce. For better and for worse, Marshall made the Supreme Court a pillar of American life.
Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. His books include: "Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln," "Gentleman Revolutionary: Gouverneur Morris, the Rake Who Wrote the Constitution," "America's First Dynasty: The Adamses, 1735—1918," "Alexander Hamilton, American," and "Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington." In 2008, Brookhiser was awarded the National Humanities Medal by George W. Bush. He holds a B.A. from Yale University.