Justice Joseph Story and the Rise of the Supreme Court

By Gerald T. Dunne | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XXI
The Turn of the Tide

ELECTIONS, BANKRUPTS, AND REPORTERS

The glorious year which could be roughly measured from the accession of the John Quincy Adams Administration to the golden anniversary of American independence, and which included a consequence of signal successes both on and off the bench, came to an abrupt close as the off-year elections of 1826 returned an anti-Adams Congress and cast the long shadow of Andrew Jackson across the land. "There is," wrote the President, "a decided majority of both houses of Congress in opposition to the Administration -- a state of things which has never before occurred under the Government of the United States."1 And this event was closely followed by another event which had never before occurred under the government of the United States: Chief Justice Marshall was overridden by his own Court on a constitutional question.

The occasion was the long-drawn-out insolvency case Ogden v. Saunders,2 wherein the hour of decision had been fixed by two seemingly unrelated events. One was the appointment of District Judge Robert Trimble to what was becoming the Kentucky

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1
J. Q. Adams, Memoirs, VII, 367.
2
12 WHEATON 213 ( 1827).

-260-

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