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The Short Biography of John Jay

John Jay

John Jay assumed many roles during his life. Born to a wealthy family of merchants in 1745, he always had a prominent role in New York City. Documented as the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, his political life successfully geared him for all the important roles he assumed. During his first public role he served as Secretary to the New York Committee of Correspondence. John Jay’s later role as Chief Justice to the Supreme Court intensified his political views and governance of the United States.

In 1789, John Jay was appointed as first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by President Washington. Being the first appointed Chief Justice, many of the duties and responsibilities delegated by the Supreme Court were initiated by John Jay and his members. John Jay’s primary functions as Chief justice were to oversee the Supreme Court during public sessions,as well as preside over private conferences while the chamber of members discussed the rulings of different cases.

Being the first appointed Chief Justice, John Jay had to set the tone in the manner the Supreme Court would operate. With no set practice of the Supreme Court in the Constitution, in the first decade of the judicial system the Supreme Court was known as the weakest link of the three branches of government.The implementation of John Jay and his views of how things should operate helped strengthen the judicial system overall.

During his reign as Chief Justice from 1789-1795, John Jay reviewed important cases which helped the Supreme Court gain recognition as an honorable institution. When John Jay first assumed power as Chief Justice, most of his time was spent establishing practices and protocol. John Jay demonstrated the act of fair treatment within the Supreme Court system.

As Chief Justice three major cases were presented under John Jay's ruling. The first case, Chishlom v. Georgia, involved the right of private citizenship of one State to sue another. John Jay agreed with the conditions of this case and implemented the ruling giving an individual the right to sue another State. This is allowed under affiliation of a corporation denouncing the practice of sovereign rights. This ruling, however, was later overruled by the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution. Other similar cases involved other State to State appeals,as well as the role of foreign government policies and the United States.

His concerns of politics and warfare lead John Jay to implement the Jay Treaty during the term he served as Chief Justice in 1794. This Treaty was implemented to shift the odds of war between the United States and Great Britain. It also helped solve a number of problems that came about as a result of the American Revolution. Under the John Jay Treaty, fair trade between countries increased and it also helped the first colonies gain there separation from British practices. The Treaty also helped the United States gain access to the North Western Territories.

John Jay’s strong political force and practice of fair ruling lead Washington to renominate John Jay as Chief Justice in 1795, which he declined. John Jay continued to be a political influence to the United States and internationally as well, retiring from the political world under the presidential reign of John Adams.

NEXT: The Short Biography of John Marshall

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