COMMEMORATING THE 250TH BIRTHDAY OF JOHN MARSHALL; Congressional Record Vol. 151, No. 121
(Senate - September 26, 2005)

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  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. President, I am pleased today to honor the birth of 
one of Virginia's and America's true citizen soldiers, statesmen, and 
most importantly jurists, the former Chief Justice of the United 
States, John Marshall.
  The 250th commemoration of his birth over the weekend takes on 
special significance this week as the Senate prepares to confirm John 
Roberts as the 17th Chief Justice of the United States. He will replace 
Chief Justice William Rehnquist, whose decent, dedicated and principled 
leadership will be difficult to replace. I am confident that Judge 
Roberts will follow in the tradition of honorable service that was so 
evident in the work of former Chief Justices Rehnquist and Marshall.
  John Marshall's legacy as a Federalist is truly remarkable, but what 
many people fail to address is his true love for a young America and 
the desire to see our country succeed and persevere for generations to 
  A native Virginian, from Germantown, he grew up with his parents 
Thomas and Mary Randolph Keith. His devotion to our Nation was ever 
present when the Revolutionary War began with the firing of the 
historic shots at Lexington and Concord. Like so many of his great 
countrymen, Marshall did not waver in spirit or succumb to fear; 
Marshall picked up arms against the tyrannical oppressive British Crown 
and defended the freedom and liberty that he envisioned for Virginians 
and other colonies.
  At the young age of 20, Marshall joined the Culpeper Minute Men. He 
was chosen a lieutenant. Marshall proceeded to nobly fight in the 
battle of Great Bridge. In fact, while enduring the cold winter at 
Valley Forge, Marshall was General George Washington's chief legal 
officer and by the end of his military service, John Marshall was a 
brigadier general for the Second Brigade in the Virginia Militia.
  After his valiant war service, Marshall returned to Virginia to study 
law under George Wythe at the College of William and Mary. He was 
admitted to Phi Beta Kappa and the Virginia Bar. Marshall's desire to 
practice in the courts and the court of appeals led him to the great 
capital city of Richmond. It is in Richmond where Marshall's political 
and judicial life began to flourish.
  John Marshall became one of the leading attorneys defending 
Virginians in the United States District Court of Virginia, and as a 
consequence, he was selected to be the lead counsel in arguing the 
landmark case, Ware v. Hylton, in the 1796 term of the United States 
Supreme Court. This would be the only case that John Marshall would 
argue before the Nation's highest court and, ironically, he lost.
  Like his legal career, Marshall saw success in politics. He held 
legislative office as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, a 
member of the Governor's Council of State, and finally as a member of 
the United States House of Representatives. But one of his most 
important, yet often overlooked roles is his election to the Virginia 
convention that ratified the Federal Constitution. Marshall rose and 
delivered a very poignant speech on the role of the judiciary. This 
speech dispelled many of the fears of a Federal court system and truly 
defined his views on the proper function of government.
  Nonetheless, John Marshall was not a boisterous individual. He 
refused many attempts by President Adams to appoint him to Federal 
office. But he accepted and served as a diplomatic envoy to France for 
President Adams as well as Adams' Secretary of State. It was his 
dedicated service as Secretary of State that led President Adams to 
appoint Marshall to the United States Supreme Court, where his legacy 
would endure.
  We all know the landmark cases that John Marshall decided. From 
McCulloch v. Maryland to Gibbons v. Ogden, Marshall's contribution to 
the American judiciary system is ever present. But the case that truly 
enshrines his legacy is his ruling in Marbury v. Madison. In truth, 
what made this even more impressive was that Marbury was the very first 
case that the Supreme Court heard under the leadership of Chief Justice 
  The Marshall Court's ruling in Marbury v. Madison has defined the 
role of the Supreme Court and its pivotal place in our system of checks 
and balances. Although the decision limited the power of the Supreme 
Court, it also served to establish the Court's authority to review the 
constitutionality of acts of Congress. The doctrine of judicial review 
became a fundamental principle of Constitutional law.
  While I am a Jeffersonian who wishes to limit the reach and meddling 
of the Federal Government into the rights and prerogatives of the 
people and the States, I do believe these foundational Constitutional 
questions, debates, and decisions are noteworthy for the education of 
our present leaders and students. By commemorating historical figures 
such as John Marshall, we will help our young people better understand 
American history and what it means to be a citizen of the United 
States. One thing is certain: John Marshall deserves a prominent place 
in this Nation's history for his life of service and the impact he made 
on America even after death. It was, after all, Chief Justice 
Marshall's funeral that caused the famous crack in the Liberty Bell 
when it tolled for his procession in 1835. Indeed, John's Marshall's 
indelible mark in American lore came in many forms.
  And so it is with great honor that I celebrate the birthday of one of 
our great citizen soldiers, statesmen, and Chief Justices. We should 
celebrate John Marshall's contribution to our country. His steadfast 
commitment to federalism helped define the role of the courts and may 
have ultimately preserved the delicate equilibrium of our Government. 
But what trumped his loyalty to the federalist way of life, was his 
love for his Nation and his desire to see America flourish into the 
great country that it is today.
  I would like to take this opportunity to wish a happy birthday to 
Chief Justice John Marshall, who was born 250 years ago in the great 
Commonwealth of Virginia. May Virginia and America continue to be 
blessed with men and women of his unflinching character and spirit.