A Necessary and Proper Post on the 200th Anniversary of McCulloch v. Maryland and the Upcoming Maryland Bicentennial Symposium

By Diane E. Feuerherd

On March 6, 1819, exactly 200 years ago today, Chief Justice John Marshall issued his landmark McCulloch v. Maryland opinion, on behalf of a unanimous Supreme Court. On its face, McCulloch confirmed the federal power to create a national bank free from state taxation. But more enduring than the national bank’s charter (which expired by 1836) is the holding in favor of Congress’s implied powers, under the “Necessary and Proper” clause of the Constitution’s Article I, Section 8. Today, law students and elite legal minds alike continue to study the case and its lasting impact on our government framework and constitutional jurisprudence.

Not only is McCulloch v. Maryland a keystone of Chief Justice Marshall’s legacy, but it is also a reminder of Baltimore’s role in the Supreme Court Bar of the early nineteenth century. Both sides of this case were represented by legal giants hailing from Baltimore: William Wirt and William Pinkney (joined by Daniel Webster) on behalf of the federal bank’s James W. McCulloch versus Maryland Attorney General Luther Martin (with Joseph Hopkinson). For more, see Steve Klepper’s article on the development of the Federal Bar in Baltimore.

To commemorate this anniversary, the Maryland State Bar Association and others[i] are co-sponsoring the Maryland Bicentennial Symposium and Celebration of McCulloch v. Maryland, on the evening of April 25, 2019 at the University of Maryland School of Law. Like the subject case, this program will feature several heavy hitters of the appellate bench and bar, including:

Chief Judge Roger Gregory of the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit;

Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera of the Maryland Court of Appeals;

Gregory Garre of Latham & Walkins, LLP (former Solicitor General, 2008-2009); and

Neal Katyal of Hogan Lovells (former Acting Solicitor General, 2010-2011).

The event will feature a roundtable discussion, a re-enactment by Mr. Katyal (on behalf of McCulloch) and Mr. Garre (on behalf of Maryland), and dinner. Register at www.msba.org/McCulloch.  We hope to see you there.



[i] The Symposium is co-sponsored by the Maryland State Bar Association-Litigation Section (MSBA), the Federal Bar Association of Maryland (FBA-MD), the American College of Trial Lawyers-Maryland (ACTL-MD), and the non-profit The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource).

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