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The Supreme Court: One Nation Under Law

55 minutes 32 seconds

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Examines the creation of the court and follows it through the brink of the Civil War, paying particular attention to the fourth chief justice of the Supreme Court--John Marshall and to his successor, Roger Taney. Marshall presided over one of the most famous cases before the court, while Taney presided over one of the most infamous. In Marbury v. Madison, Marshall found in an obscure case involving an unsigned judicial appointment the opportunity to assert the court's most important power: the right of judicial review. In Dred Scott v. Sandford, however, Taney, the next chief justice, exercised that same power against the national government--to protect slavery. "It was a disaster," says James Simon, law professor, dean emeritus, New York Law School. "It was the worst opinion ever written in the history of the Supreme Court of the United States."

Media Details

Runtime: 55 minutes 32 seconds

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Closeup of a crowd of people carrying banners and signs at a demonstration. Caption. Before the Civil War, the issues were slavery.
The Supreme Court
Season 0 / Ep 1
55 minutes 32 seconds
Grade Level: 7 - 12
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The Supreme Court
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Grade Level: 7 - 12
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The Supreme Court
Season 0 / Ep 3
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Grade Level: 7 - 12
Black and white photo of a man in a suit and black frame glasses. Caption. The assistant attorney general, William H. Rehnquist.
The Supreme Court
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55 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12

Viewer Comments

  • Tiny default profile photo
    Anonymous (Stafford, VA)
    November 16th, 2015 at 08:46 AM

    This film fit nicely into the Virginia Standards of Learning for Virginia and United States History. The program segued well into a writing assignment about John Marshall's expansion of the powers of the federal judiciary.