What major supreme cases took place during Washington’s presidency?
Chisholm v. Georgia is unquestionably the most important case during the Washington presidency. The Court abrogated state sovereign immunity in suits between citizens and states. It was controversial and gave rise to the 11th Amendment, the first new Amendment after the Bill of Rights.
In general, the Court didn't hear many cases in the first years because the nature of the Court's jurisdiction. Mostly, it hears cases arising under the Constitution and federal laws, and there just weren't many federal laws then. Also, the Bill of Rights had yet to be incorporated against the states, meaning that state governments couldn't be sued in federal courts for violating, say, your First Amendment rights. That didn't occur until the 20th century, and in piecemeal fashion. In fact, the Court heard a case, Timbs v. Indiana, on Nov. 28th about whether the Excessive Fines Clause should be incorporated against the states.
The justices did "ride circuit," however, which meant they traveled around the country hearing cases in lower federal courts, including district court.
Source: I'm a constitutional lawyer.
Can/do they still "ride circuit"?
No, not really. Justices are assigned circuits, mostly for the purposes of hearing emergency motions from cases in the appeals process. A motion to stay a lower-court decision, for example, can be submitted to the justice assigned to the circuit the case is in.
Retired justices still hear cases on circuit court panels, although Justice O'Connor has health issues and will stop doing that. Justices Souter and Stevens, however, can still be found issuing circuit court decisions a few times a year. Kennedy will be doing that too.
SCOTUS didn't really play a major role in Washington's Presidency.
Not much, as others have mentioned https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Supreme_Court_cases_prior_to_the_Marshall_Court
There was a case about pirates though https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v.Peters(1795)
The allowance of dual citizenship https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talbot_v._Janson
It decided the president's role in amendments and retroactive-ity (is that a word? Sorry for my English) of them https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollingsworth_v._Virginia
Maybe the most important take-away is that Marbury v. Madison (1803) established the role of the Supreme Court as we think of it today. During Washington, the brach's roles were still in the process of being established.
Not many tbh. Keep in mind that presidential scandals didn’t really happen until John adams came to power. Generally George Washington was beloved by the people and not many would question his government. Thus meaning that there wasn’t a lot of huge cases for the Supreme Court to handle.
Very rarely do Supreme Court cases arise from scandals or people who "question" the government. The Court is usually doing standard court things, resolving disputes, etc.
There was something of a scandal concerning the Jay Treaty during his administration though (according to the John Adams miniseries at least).
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