... 1790 (220 years ago today), in the chamber at left tucked inside the Senate wing of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Supreme Court convened for the 1st time. (photo credit) On the bench were 1 Chief Justice of the United States, John Jay, and 5 Associate Justices of the Court. This website gives an apt summary of this moment in U.S. history:
At its creation, the judicial branch was by far the weakest and most timid of all three government branches, holding back from strongly upholding and deciding controversial issues.
The story of how all that began to change with the arrival in 1801 of Chief Justice John Marshall has been told often -- most recently by our colleagues Cliff Sloan and David McKean, in The Great Decision (2009) (prior posts here and here).