Justice John Marshall to Grace Silver Dollar

The U.S. Mint (search) is selling a silver dollar honoring legendary Chief Justice John Marshall (search), the first coin to pay tribute to a member of the Supreme Court.

The Mint unveiled the coin Wednesday in a ceremony at the court, which was timed to mark the 250th birthday of the nation's fourth chief justice. It is producing 400,000 coins that will sell for less than $40 each.

Marshall, who served on the Supreme Court for 34 years, is known for his landmark Marbury v. Madison (search) opinion in 1803 that established the judiciary branch's power to review and strike down unconstitutional acts of Congress.

Congress last year authorized sales of the coin, which features a portrait of Marshall on one side and a depiction of the old Supreme Court chamber in the U.S. Capitol on the other. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Among those attending Wednesday's ceremony were Justices Stephen G. Breyer, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as well as the widow of Justice Thurgood Marshall.

In public remarks, Breyer praised John Marshall as the court's greatest justice for establishing the Supreme Court as an equal, third branch of government. Before the Marbury ruling, justices did "apparently nothing," Breyer joked.

The coins are available for sale at the Supreme Court, by phone or the Internet at http://www.usmint.gov.