During recent years, the Supreme Court has handed down a number of decisions which have centralized the power of the national government at the expense of state power. This action has caused critics to accuse the court of being unduly “activist” and creating a dangerous centralization of power. That these critics have failed to realize is that the activism of recent history is not a departure from the original tradition of judicial power. From the beginning of American constitutional government, those governmental leaders who framed the Constitution and worked out its meaning saw the Court not as a mere technical clarifier of the law, but as a major political force, sharing the basic powers of government with the congressional and executive branches. Those men who first held office under the Constitution were nationalists, seeking deliberately to strengthen the national government at the expense of state power. John Jay, first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, was one of these nationalists, and this activity on the Court reflects his philosophy of government.