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Maryland, United States Constitution


The State of Maryland and the attorneys who practice in it have played a profound role in the history of the Constitution of the United States. That relationship should not surprise anyone: after all, Maryland was one of the original thirteen states, and its proximity to the nation’s capitol ensured that its lawyers would play an active role in the bar of the Supreme Court. Although the case names alone would make that history apparent – McCulloch v. Maryland, Brown v. Maryland, Federal Baseball – I am not aware of a serious scholarly effort to bring that history to the attention of a large audience. This Essay presents a short version of that relation. It does not pretend to be comprehensive, but only provocative; I hope others will fill in the gaps.

This Essay analyzes the role the State and its citizens have played in constitutional development from several perspectives: constitutional Framers, Supreme Court Justices, individual attorneys, and specific pieces of litigation. I do not cover any area in depth, and for topics that are quite famous, I have assumed some prior knowledge on the reader’s part. On other topics that are important, but little-known, such as Reverdy Johnson and the Federal Baseball litigation, I have perhaps provided more than the normal amount of information. Finally, much more attention has been placed on events in the first half-century of the Republic than on those that came later; the reasons are simple: Maryland was a far more important part of the nation in the early days than it is now, and today lawyers and Justices may live in this State but have little real connection with it. In the end, this has been a labor of love, and so I have followed my heart on coverage.


Constitutional Law