In February, 1803, when the Marshall Court finally met, it did something really interesting. In Marbury v. Madison, a suit against Jefferson’s Secretary of State, James Madison, Marshall granted to the Supreme Court a power it had not been explicitly granted in the Constitution: the right to decide whether laws passed by Congress are constitutional. This was such an astonishing thing to do that the Court didn’t declare another federal law unconstitutional for fifty-four years.
Jill Lepore's interesting piece in The New Yorker, "Benched," on the SCOTUS, judicial review, and the principle of judicial independence. It touches on the thorny issue of judicial elections, too.
I love the anecdote that the first time the SCOTUS met, upstairs in the Merchants' Exchange building at the corner of Broad and Water Street, in New York City, "only three Justices showed up and so, lacking a quorum, court was adjourned."