With the Supreme Court in the news, I’ve decided to brush off some of my favorite court history books and tell some interesting stories you might not know about the court, its traditions and justices.
John Marshall’s work as Chief Justice – as well as his work in the Continental Army and as John Adams’ Secretary of State – marks him as one of the most influential founding fathers.
His intellect was profound and graceful. His leadership of the court was as impressive as any generals’.
But there’s a story about Marshall that, according to everything I’ve read is not apocryphal.
Unlike the debonair Thomas Jefferson or the stately George Washington, Marshall blended in with the common man.
Marshall often did his own shopping. One day, dressed in drab apparel, Marshall was making his way home from a market in Richmond when he was stopped by a man who wasn’t familiar with the town. The man assumed Marshall was a servant and asked him to carry his turkey too. He then offered Marshall some money.
The man was immediately told who was carrying his turkey.
The way the story is told by most historians, Marshall wasn’t put out by being asked to run the errand.