Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

Andrew Jackson, Donald Trump and the courts

February 9, 2017 by Jeffrey Rosen


Writing in The Atlantic, National Constitution Center president and CEO Jeffrey Rosen explains the difference in the attacks leveled on federal courts by Andrew Jackson and Donald Trump.


In this excerpt from the full article, Rosen discusses the nature of President Trump’s criticism of a federal judge in Seattle, compared with Jackson’s comments about a landmark Supreme Court case.


“Some might look for a historical precedent for Trump’s attacks in the alleged comments of Trump’s hero Andrew Jackson, who criticized Chief Justice John Marshall’s decision in a case involving the Cherokee Indians. “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it,” the former president allegedly said. In fact, Jackson, whose portrait hangs in Trump’s office, provides no historical support for Trump’s unprecedented personal assault on the motives of judges evaluating the constitutionality of his executive orders. Jackson criticized Marshall on constitutional, rather than political, terms, and he ultimately required Congress and the states to acknowledge the Supreme Court’s authority to interpret the Constitution, rather than threaten to disregard it.”


To read the full article, go to:


Sign up for our email newsletter