chapter  VIII
22 Pages

VIII More Power to the States

Roger B. Taney, the chief justice appointed by Jackson, was in some ways more complicated than the great jurist he replaced. He entered politics as a Maryland Federalist but broke with the party over Federalist opposition to the War of 1812. Establishing himself in state politics over the next decade, he joined the Jacksonians and became Jackson’s attorney general in 1831. He had a brilliant analytical mind, and his loyalty to the president was unconditional. Taney drafted most of Jackson’s veto message on the bank bill, including the assertion that the president and Congress are not bound by the constitutional interpretations of the Supreme Court. He assisted in the destruction of the national bank by issuing the Treasury orders for the transfer of federal deposits. The Senate refused to confi rm him as Treasury Secretary for his role in the affair, and it subsequently rejected his nomination for the Supreme Court vacancy created by the resignation of Justice Duvall. Had the Jacksonians not regained control of the Senate in 1836, he would have been rejected again for the chief justiceship. Few appointments to the Court have occasioned fi ercer debate or raised more questions about the judicial suitability of the

appointee. “Judge Story thinks the Supreme Court is gone,” wrote Daniel Webster of the appointment. “I think so too.”