If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street, If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.
— The Beatles in “The Taxman”
Of the 17 lawyers who have served as chief justice of the United States, John Marshall — the fourth chief justice — has come to be known as the “Great Chief Justice.” The folks who have given him that title are the progressives who have largely written the history we are taught in government schools. They revere him because he is the intellectual progenitor of federal power. Marshall’s opinions over a 34-year period during the nation’s infancy — expanding federal power at the expense of personal freedom and the sovereignty of the states — set a pattern for federal control of our lives and actually invited Congress to regulate areas of human behavior nowhere mentioned in the Constitution. He was Thomas Jefferson’s cousin, but they rarely spoke. No chief justice in history has so pronouncedly and creatively offered the feds power on a platter as he.
Now he has a rival.