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Coin Of the Month

Uncovering America's Heritage... Coin by Coin

2005 John Marshall Commemorative Silver Dollar

Here it is, May, so "may" I show you a new commemorative silver dollar?  This coin honors John Marshall, a man I'm happy to tell you about.

Born in Virginia in 1755, John Marshall was the oldest of fifteen children and was an officer in the Revolutionary War.  His good friend was George Washington, who also lived in Virginia.  Marshall spent the winter of early 1778 with General Washington and the troops at Valley Forge.  He became a lawyer in 1780.  Marshall served in Virginia's House of Delegates.  He became Secretary of State under the second president, John Adams, who appointed him to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

One of the Supreme Court's most famous cases was Marbury versus Madison.  In this case, the Court ruled that the Constitution gave the Court the power of "judicial review."  That means the Court could review any law that Congress passed to make sure that law was allowed by the Constitution, and overturn that law if it was not allowed.

Judicial review is important because it's part of our government's system of checks and balances.  It took the Court under Chief Justice John Marshall to find this important idea in the text of the Constitution.

Marshall was married and six of his ten children lived to adulthood.  He also wrote a book about the life of George Washington.  Marshall served as our nation's fourth Chief Justice for more than 34 years, administering the oath of office to five presidents.  His leadership in the Supreme Court has made him one of the most important figures in the history of constitutional law, affecting America's great issues even today.


Image of Marshall dollar obverse.
Obverse:  This coin honors John Marshall on the 250th anniversary of his birth. The bust on the coin is based on a painting.

Image of Marshall dollar reverse.
Reverse:  This chamber in the Senate building is where the Supreme Court used to meet before the Court had its own building.

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