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Three Period History of the Supreme Court

            The establishment of an effective Judicial System in the United States of America has come with numerous challenges over the past centuries. What is thought of as “probably the most important and the most satisfactory Act ever passed by Congress,” the Judiciary Act of 1789 created for the people a system of courts that would ensure the presence of justice in the new American society. The state of the nation at the time, however, would prove to be challenging for the few selected to hold judicial positions. The terms within the newly minted Constitution posed more questions than they answered and would quickly be up for intricate interpretation, and with this interpretation would come great controversy between the citizens, the newly elected leaders, and the members of the Court. Perhaps the most difficult aspect, however, of the Court’s creation would be the reality that this Constitution in no way implied what the true “power” of the Court was outside of being capable of reversing or affirming state court decisions denying rights granted by treaties, laws, or the Constitution itself. Nothing within the Constitution exclusively states that the Supreme Court’s opinion is superior to the state court’s, and nothing within the Constitution states that the Supreme Court has the capability of judicial review on acts generated by the legislature. If it is so limited, in these regards, how has it become so powerful? This question has been asked continuously in the decades passed, and the answer to it is yet to be precisely determined. The best way to develop a possible answer to this question, however, can come with an examination of specific time periods in history involving the decisions made by the Court’s members. The first time period to be analyzed dates from the start of the Court in 1789 to 1867, during which the main focus was on the strength of the Union and the relationship between nation and states.