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Do Great Cases Make Bad Law?$
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Lackland H. Bloom, Jr.

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199765881

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199765881.001.0001

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Mcculloch v. Maryland

Mcculloch v. Maryland

(p.23) 2 Mcculloch v. Maryland
Do Great Cases Make Bad Law?

Lackland H. Bloom

Oxford University Press

McCulloch presented the Court with one of the most controversial political issues of the day—could a state impose a targeted tax on a branch of the Bank of the United States? John Marshall used the case to write what is often considered the most significant opinion in Supreme Court history. In the opinion, Marshall expressed a nationalist conception of constitutional origin as well as an expansive view of congressional power. This chapter examines the political context in which McCulloch arose and discusses Marshall’s opinion in depth including his structural arguments as well as his explication of the Necessary and Proper Clause. Finally, the chapter explores why this great case, which was so politically controversial in its time, gave rise to very good and long lasting law.

Keywords:   McCulloch v Maryland, Marshall, Bank of United States, congressional power, structural argument, Necessary and Proper

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