Role of Federal Government over Oppression?

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    In the “Marshall Court II” lecture, we are told that Marshall took the correct position in Barron Vs. Baltimore (1833) that the Bill of Rights and Constitution does not pertain to State Laws but instead that it is intended to protect against over reaching of Federal Law only. So does the Supreme Court have any authority in overturning oppressive state laws? For instance, and I hate to bring up this overly used example, slavery and maybe other instances of states abusing private property or intruding on individual privacy? Any thoughts on the matter?

    Thank you for your input.


    Slavery is barred by the 13th Amendment, so yes, the Federal Government has a rightful role in that area.

    In general, as Jefferson wrote in his famous memorandum on Hamilton’s Bank Bill (1791), the underlying principle of the Constitution is that the Federal Government has only the few powers delegated to it via the Constitution. Other matters are to be addressed by government, if at all, at the state level.

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