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John Adams

Robert Brink, executive director of the Social Law Library, recently offered a toast to John Adams on the occasion of the 215th anniversary of John Adams’ appointment of John Marshall as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.

In his 1803 decision, Marbury v. Madison, Marshall established the principle of judicial review, “the court’s power to review actions of other branches or levels of government . . . to invalidate legislative and executive actions as being unconstitutional.”*

Brink makes the case that John Adams also deserves credit for helping to create the independence of the judicial branch of government, both through his nomination of Marshall and his support of the concept of judicial review, most particularly evidenced in his authorship of the Massachusetts Constitution, the world’s oldest functioning written constitution and the model for our federal constitution.

*Black’s Law Dictionary, 10th edition, (2014).

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