John Marshall: Used Car Salesman or KIA Dealer?

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    Is there any historical basis for seeing John Marshall as having acted in good faith as Chief Justice? I’m aware that as Jeffersonians, the prevailing view here is that he was a partisan hack who sought to fight the Democratic Republicans, but I’m curious if other than his war service there is any way he can be seen in a good light from an originalist point of view. Do you think he believed what he said in McCullough and the other expansionist rulings?


    He has always been admired by nationalists–that is, by people who wanted the government to be increasingly centralized. Charles Hobson, the editor of his Papers, characterizes Marshall’s as a common-law approach to constitutional law, which of course is an alternative approach to that of Madison, Jefferson, Roane, Taylor, et al., who began by asking what the people thought the Constitution was going to mean when they ratified it.

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