The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest federal court in the country. The Supreme Court has the power and duty of judicial review. When it comes to decisions, the buck stops here. It was designed as part of the checks and balances system for the US government.
The Chief Justice of the United States not only presides over the Supreme Court, but is also the head of the judicial branch of the federal government. There are several duties that come with the title.
The first person to hold this title was John Jay. He was born December 13, 1745. Although there were public schools in New York City during that time, John Jay was tutored at home until he went on to attend Kings College. He graduated from Kings College at the age of 19. Four years after his graduation he was admitted to the bar.
John Jay was always interested in politics. He served as New York’s representative to both the First and Second continental Congress. He contributed to “The Federalist Papers”.
In 1777, John Jay was elected to be the first Chief Justice of New York. In 1778 he was chosen as the president of the Continental Congress.
In May of 1782 he travel to Paris to help Ben Franklin with secret negotiations for a peace settlement with Great Britain. The end result of these negotiations was the Treaty of Paris, that ended the war.
John Jay’s popularity landed him positions and titles even when he was out of the country. He returned home to find that Congress had elected him as secretary of foreign affairs. George Washington offered him the position of secretary of state, which he refused. Then Washington proposed the Chief Justice position which he accepted. He was formally signed in Sunday, October 18th, 1789.
During his time a chief justice his duties were varied. He established many of the traditions that still exist on the bench today. He also continued to be an important member of treaty negotiations. In 1794 he was in England negotiating. He returned home to find that he had been elected as the Governor of New York.
With this news he resigned his position and went to serve as governor. He served two – three year terms as governor. John Adams, the current president, then nominated him for a second appointment of chief justice. The congress quickly approved the appointment.
It was then John Jay refused to take on the position. He declared that his health was failing and he no longer possessed the qualities needed to do the job.
His long record of public service clearly shows his desire to have an influence in the well-being of the country and its’ citizens.