Category Archives: This Day In Supreme Court History

On This Day in Supreme Court History—March 17, 1954

On this day in 1954, William Brennan gave a speech that cost him a unanimous vote in the Senate when he was later nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. Brennan, then a judge on the New Jersey Supreme Court, spoke at the St. Patrick’s Day dinner of the Charitable Irish Society of Boston. He chose … Continue reading On This Day in Supreme Court History—March 17, 1954

On This Day in Supreme Court History—February 11, 1943

On this day in 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Wiley B. Rutledge to the Supreme Court. Rutledge was President Roosevelt’s eighth and final appointee to the Court. At the time of his appointment, he had been serving on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 1939. The Senate confirmed … Continue reading On This Day in Supreme Court History—February 11, 1943

On This Day in Supreme Court History—February 10, 1937

On this day in 1937, Bishop William Manning, head of the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of New York, gave a rather unusual Ash Wednesday sermon. His topic: President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s proposal to expand the Supreme Court. When Roosevelt announced his controversial “court-packing” plan (as its critics dubbed it) several days earlier, he framed it as … Continue reading On This Day in Supreme Court History—February 10, 1937

On This Day in Supreme Court History—February 5, 1813

On this day in 1813, the Supreme Court decided Mima Queen v. Hepburn, an appeal of a suit of an enslaved woman who claimed her freedom. The Court rejected her appeal, holding that the hearsay evidence Mima Queen relied on to establish that her great grandmother was a free woman of color who was wrongly … Continue reading On This Day in Supreme Court History—February 5, 1813

On This Day in Supreme Court History—January 26, 1898

On this day in 1898, Justice Joseph McKenna took his oath of office to serve on the Supreme Court. President William McKinley nominated McKenna to the Court on December 16, 1897, to fill the seat of Justice Stephen J. Field, who had retired. McKenna was serving as President McKinley’s Attorney General at the time. The … Continue reading On This Day in Supreme Court History—January 26, 1898

This Day in Supreme Court History—January 20, 1801

On this day in 1801, President John Adams nominated John Marshall to be the Chief Justice of the United States. The vacancy in the Court arose when Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth resigned on December 15, 1800. Ellsworth was in France, where Adams had sent him to negotiate a treaty to end the 1798-1800 “quasi-war” between … Continue reading This Day in Supreme Court History—January 20, 1801

This Day in Supreme Court History—January 7, 1972

On this day in 1972, Lewis Powell and William Rehnquist were sworn in as the 99th and 100th members of the Supreme Court. They filled vacancies that had been created several months earlier when Justices Hugo Black and John Harlan retired. Both had fading health. Justice Black retired on September 17, 1971, and died just … Continue reading This Day in Supreme Court History—January 7, 1972

This Day in Supreme Court History—November 18, 1811

On this day in 1811, the Senate confirmed, by voice vote, two of President James Madison’s nominees to the Supreme Court, Joseph Story and Gabriel Duvall. [Joseph Story] At 32, Story was the youngest Supreme Court appointee in history. The two men received their commissions that same day. (Once they arrived at the Court, Duvall … Continue reading This Day in Supreme Court History—November 18, 1811

This Day in Supreme Court History—November 5, 1987

On this day in 1987, President Ronald Reagan’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Douglas H. Ginsburg, admitted to using marijuana while he was a student at Cornell University and as a professor at Harvard Law School. Ginsburg’s admission would end his chance to occupy the seat that had opened when Justice Lewis Powell had announced … Continue reading This Day in Supreme Court History—November 5, 1987

This Day in Supreme Court History — October 27, 2005

On this day in 2005, Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to the Supreme Court. George W. Bush had nominated Miers to replace the retiring Sandra Day O’Connor. According to NPR, conservatives had publicly expressed displeasure with her lack of judicial experience and concern that she might not be as pro-life as they would like. And … Continue reading This Day in Supreme Court History — October 27, 2005