Welcome Back Chief

For well over a year, there has been a vacant spot on the wall outside the visitor’s galleries of the House of Representatives.  That finally changed on Tuesday morning.

I had finished a bunch of work for the Thanksgiving holiday, when I decided to run over to the House office buildings to check the traps and see if I could stumble into any news in the hallways.

I did exactly that as I walked over to my booth on the House side of the Capitol- there on the floor outside my door rested a restored 19th century painting of Chief Justice John Marshall.

Soon enough, workers from the Curator’s office were swarming around the hallway, getting ready to put the historic painting back up.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with John Marshall, he was pretty much responsible for setting the Supreme Court on the path to being a real player in this Republic, laying the groundwork for “judicial review” in the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison in 1803.

Marshall served as the Chief Justice from 1801 until his death in 1835. During that time, the Supreme Court convened for its arguments down on the first floor of what is now the Senate wing of the Capitol.

It is a glorious room which has been restored to its original beauty, some of the details coming from this painting by Henry Inman, which was done in 1831.

The workers brought it out carefully and placed the 180 year old painting in its huge frame – very carefully – now was no time for a screwup.

A few minutes later, they were starting to hoist it up on the wall.

Not long after that, the painting was securely on its large wall hooks and ready for tourists to
give it a look.

One story about the painting is that as you walk by the Chief Justice, his eyes seem to follow you
from side to side.

I’ve seen many tourists and lawmakers alike, walk back and forth and back and forth to get a better view.

It’s nice to have the Chief back, so he can watch me run from the House to the Senate side and back each day.

We’ve missed you, Chief.