Taney Court, partisan supremacy, U.S. Supreme Court case, constitutionality, implied federal powers, reserved state powers, jurisprudence, constitutional pedagogy, teaching


Daniel Webster warned Whig associates in 1841 that the Supreme Court would likely declare unconstitutional the national bank bill that Henry Clay was pushing through the Congress. This claim was probably based on inside information. Webster was a close association of Justice Joseph Story. The justices at this time frequently leaked word to their political allies of judicial sentiments on the issues of the day. Even if Webster lacked first-hand knowledge of how the Taney Court would probably rule in a case raising the constitutionality of the national bank, the personnel on that tribunal provided strong grounds for Whig pessimism. Most Jacksonians vigorously opposed the national bank on both policy and constitutional grounds. The most vigorous opponents of that institution had been appointed to the Taney Court. The partisan activities of these justices while on the bench gave little hope that Taney Court majorities would abandon their partisan predilections when deciding a case raising those constitutional questions that divided their Jacksonian sponsors from their Whig rivals.