born 1755, near Germantown, Va., died 1835, Philadelphia
Fourth chief justice of the United States and principal founder of the U.S. system of constitutional law, including the doctrine of judicial review. The first of Marshall's great cases in more than 30 years of service was Marbury v. Madison (1803), which established the Supreme Court's right to state and expound constitutional law. His most important decision in exercising this authority was in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), which upheld the authority of Congress to create the Bank of the United States. During his tenure Marshall participated in more than 1,000 decisions, writing 519 of them himself.