Pinkney’s most significant contributions were made through his advocacy before the Supreme Court. He demonstrated a genius for argumentation and a commitment to constitutional government.
Pinkney, who aspired to be a physician, entered the study of law through the invitation of Samuel Chase. In the 1780’s Pinkney developed his legal and political career in Maryland; he opposed ratification of the U.S. Constitution and, in 1789, called for the abolition of slavery. Pinkney became involved in the national government and accepted George Washington’s appointment in 1796 to pursue U.S. claims against Britain based on Jay’s Treaty (1794). Pinkney developed expertise in admiralty law
Cohens v. Virginia
Foreign affairs and foreign policy
McCulloch v. Maryland