The Federalist party of the United States was one of two early factions in the republic. The party was led by George Washington, John Adams and Alexander Hamilton and advocated a strong federal presence in the United States. The party was a strong advocate for the United States Constitution and believed that the future economic success of the United States depended on a strong national government.
The federal courts were very important to the agenda of the Federalist Party. Since George Washington and John Adams were the first two presidents, they would have the opportunity to fill the courts with judges that supported Federalist positions. The importance of this relates to the length of terms for judges. Federal judges and Justices of the Supreme Court are appointed by the president and serve lifetime terms. This meant that even if the Federalists lost the chief executive, the legacy of their court selections would endure. Thomas Jefferson lamented this point as third president with the following thought:
The Federalists have retired into the judiciary as a stronghold . . . and from that battery all the works of Republicanism are to be beaten down and destroyed.
Thomas Jefferson did not make these comments out of thin air. Many of the court appointments made by Washington and Adams were making the federal government's presence stronger through their decisions. John Marshall, who was appointed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court under John Adams, made key decisions that strengthened the Supreme Court, and the federal government in general.
Marshall, like most federalists, endorsed a loose interpretation of the Supreme Court. This meant that if the Constitution did not expressly forbid the federal government from certain actions, the federal government was permitted to pursue said actions. The following two quotes by John Marshall demonstrate his belief in a strong federal court and government system:
The government of the Union, though limited in its powers, is supreme within its sphere of action, and its laws, when made in pursuance of the constitution, form the supreme law of the land.
The constitution is either a superior paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means, or it is on a level with ordinary legislative acts, alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it. It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. This is the very essence of judicial duty.
John Marshall and his court used the notion of implied powers when interpreting the Constitution. Although a law may seem to contradict the powers granted to Congress by the Constitution, the Marshall Court would interpret laws based on what the Constitution implied. This was true even if the Constitution did not specifically express the power. The Marshall Court ruled in landmark cases that would give precedence for a strong federal court system. The cases that need to be mentioned as important to the Federalist cause include the Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch v. Maryland, and Gibbons v. Ogden cases. These cases happened after the Federalist hold on the executive branch and indicate the importance of the Federalist control of the judiciary.
Information on the above Supreme Court cases can be found at the following places. If you are writing a paper on this question, you could spend at least a paragraph each on the three court cases.
Marbury v. Madison Supreme Court Case
These court cases are seen as very important in giving the federal government the strong presence over the state governments that it has enjoyed during the history of the Republic. You can imagine the frustration of Thomas Jefferson in that he finally became the president as an anti-federalist, but still had to accept the rulings of the judges from the previous federalist administrations.