Lest We Be Marshall'd: Judicial Powers and Politics in Ohio, 1806-1812
George Tod and Calvin Pease were tried by the Ohio Senate in 1809, charged with subverting the state constitution by undertaking as judges to decide on the constitutionality of an act of the legislature. Both trials ended with guilty votes of a majority of the senators—one short of the two-thirds required for conviction. Frustrated by the inconclusiveness of this result, opponents of judicial power invoked a novel interpretation of the state constitution's tenure provision to purge Ohio courts of all judges considered insufficiently deferential to the legislative branch. Known as the “Sweeping Resolution,” this action raised the broader constitutional issue of the judiciary's independence as a branch of government.
The controversy lasted from 1806, when the first of the court decisions invalidating an act of the legislature was rendered, until 1812 when the “Sweeping Resolution” was effectively repealed. The constitutional issues were themselves addressed by political processes, in statewide elections as well as in the impeachment trials, and were the subject of prolonged and widely participatory public discourse. Lest We Be Marshall'd tells the story of the adventures and challenges to the legal profession in frontier Ohio.
University of Akron Press
Ohio history; Branches of Government, Judicial power
Legal | State and Local Government Law
Melhorn Jr., Donald F., "Lest We Be Marshall'd: Judicial Powers and Politics in Ohio, 1806-1812" (2003). University of Akron Press Publications. 77.