As president, Adams failed to convince Congress to adopt his proposal for a comprehensive program of “internal improvements” that would have strengthened the federal government. He was no more successful in helping to enhance federal power through his Supreme Court nominations. His nomination of Robert Trimble of Kentucky in 1826 was influenced by Trimble's staunch defenses of federal power during his service as a lower federal judge at a time when states’ rights advocates in Kentucky were fiercely attacking federal power. Although Trimble continued to defend federal power as a justice, his impact was slight because he died after only two years. Adams nominated John Crittenden of Kentucky to replace Trimble in December, 1828, but the Senate refused to act on the nomination, which was made after Adams had been defeated for reelection.Adams later served in the House of Representatives, where he championed the cause of the abolition of slavery. In 1841 he appeared once more before the Court to successfully argue the case of Africans who sought freedom from Spanish slave traders in United States v. The Amistad (1841).
- Ross, William G. “The Legal Career of John Quincy Adams.” Akron Law Review 23 (Spring, 1990): 415-453.