Tagged: history

Better know a Canadian functionary: the Chairman of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada

In 1914, the Dominion Parks Branch established Fort Howe National Park near Saint John, NB. It wasn’t especially interested in preserving Fort Howe, as the park was primarily a recreation area, but there was little in the way of vast expanses of land for turning into parks in eastern Canada, and historic places seemed like a good excuse to form a park around.

By 1919, Minister of the Interior William James Roche grew concerned with the deterioration of the old fur-trading forts in the west and charged parks commissioner J.B. Harkin with forming an Advisory Board for Historic Site Preservation, and so was founded later that year as the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. The first site was proclaimed near Port Dover, ON, where the French claimed Lake Erie in 1670. under its first chairman, Brig.-Gen. E.A. Cruikshank of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment, new sites were heavily biased towards sites in Ontario associated with the United Empire Loyalists and battles of the War of 1812. These inequalities were highlighted in an examination of the Board’s practices during the Massey Commission of 1951; thereafter, sites were made to reflect a wider swath of Canadian history.

The chairmen of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada have been:

Brig.-Gen. Ernest Alexander Cruikshank VD FRSC, 1919-39.
Frederic William Howay FRSC, 1939-43.
Dr. John Clarence Webster CMG FRSC, 1943-50.
Fred Landon FRSC, 1950-58.
Fr. Antoine d’Eschambault, 1958-59.
Dr. Charles Bruce Fergusson, 1960-67.
Allan R. Turner, 1968-72.
Dr. James Maurice Stockford Careless OC FRSC, 1980-85.
Thomas Henry Bull Symons CC FRSC, 1986-96.
Dr. Richard M.H. Alway OC KHS GCSG, 1996-now.


Better know a Canadian cultural touchstone: Heritage Minutes

Following my last post, which mentioned the famous Hinterland Who’s Who TV spots, I got a request to mention Canada’s other frequently-parodied series of public-service commercial for stuff you ought to have been taught in school.

The Heritage Minutes, those famous hammily acted, sparsely scored history tableaux narrated by This Hour Has Seven Days co-host Patrick Watson, are formally titled Historica Minutes: History by the Minute. They were created for the CRB Foundation, the pet project of blue-blooded rumrunner scion and pillar of the Jewish community Charles R. Bronfman (hence the Foundation’s name). The first Minutes aired in 1991 during a one-off history quiz show on the CBC hosted by avuncular singing eccentric-botherer Wayne Rostad.

Sponsors of the Heritage Minutes included the Department of Canadian Heritage, Canada Post, Bell Canada and Power Corp.

New Minutes were produced until 1999, when the CRB Foundation became the Historica Foundation, and continued to air on CBC and CTV well into the 2000s, soaking up the networks’ Canadian content requirements.

The Historica-Dominion Institute, as it is now known, has recently restarted making Heritage Minutes. It made two for the War of 1812 in 2012, two for Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Etienne Cartier earlier this year (which I went over here ) and two for World War I later this year.

About these new Heritage Minutes

Today they released two new Heritage Minutes, centred around Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier, exactly one year before the Macdonald birth bicentenary next year. As a big fan of the original Heritage Minutes, I was very excited to see them… and was rather underwhelmed.

I’ll say this right now: I’m not going to be Hank Hipster and say that the old ones were better because they were shot on standard definition, or that they used practical effects, or only used CGI that looked like it was made from spare code they got from episodes of ReBoot. These things were always filmed on the cheap, and nowadays that means as much green-screen as you can get.

Of the two of them, the one that comes closest to capturing the spirit of the old Minutes was the one for Sir John A. Macdonald, in which he sails for Charlottetown in 1864 to convince British North America to unite.

It starts out well; the traditional date-and-place label and a throwaway nod to Macdonald’s lifelong battle with alcoholism before settling in with Cartier, George Brown and an oddly present-but-mute Thomas d’Arcy McGee to blatantly spout exposition (or “lay pipe”, as they say in show business) in a manner not quite as ham-fisted as some of the worst offenders from the old ones (I’m looking at you, Sandford Fleming) before this weird breakdown in the middle where they all look at a map while Macdonald describes the extent of the future Canada while the camera overlays footage of landscapes on the map. This felt like the writers were stalling for time. The old-style Minutes definitely would have either given McGee a line here to lay pipe on the Fenian raids being a factor toward Confederation, or else put in some dialogue-free footage of servants or sailors or the ship’s cat or something. The thing then cuts to Province House a few weeks later, where Macdonald gives a chunk of speech, one guy at the end of the table (Charles Tupper, I think) slow-claps him, and they all go outside and pose on the steps, as the camera pans out and becomes the famous photograph of the Fathers of Confederation, just like at the end of “Rural Teacher” where they transformed into Robert Harris’s painting The Meeting of the School Trustees.

The one I really have my trouble with is the Cartier Minute.

By trying to cram in Cartier challenging Antoine-Aimé Dorion on Confederation, plus the creation of Manitoba, plus the negotiations for British Columbia to join Confederation, plus the framing device wherein Cartier’s monument at the Parliament is unveiled in 1885, it doesn’t spend nearly enough time on any one thing to do anything but rush through the dialogue (although I have to admit that I liked the line “ask for a railway, we’re building a country, after all.”). The scenes are over-edited, zooming in to meld one scene into the next instead of just smash-cutting from one to another. The Mumford & Sons-if-they-weren’t-trying soundtrack was much too upbeat for what was ostensibly a day of solemn memorial to the man.

And excuse me, but are they still supposed to be at the unveiling at the end? In 1885? Then why is the modern 1920 Parliament there? It’s even worse if you consider that the whole background is green-screen and they could have easily MADE A MODEL OF THE APPROPRIATE BUILDING.

One thing that bothers me with both of them is the way they end. The old ones would end with the phrase “A part of our heritage” appearing at the bottom of the screen, and then the image would recede into a little box as the sponsor credits appeared in a frame around it, as the action in the scene slowed to a sort of tableau vivant. The new ones shrink the screen without warning into a little square in a mosaic with stills from the other Heritage Minutes, which then morphs into the maple leaf in the Historica Canada logo.

And that really gets to what I think is wrong with the new minutes: not that they don’t have a sense of earnestness (they do, every bit as much as the old ones) but that they have no sense of pacing or restraint. They’re trying too hard. Compared with the old Minutes, the dialogue is too fast, the colours are too bright, the editing too slick, the score too cluttered. The old Minutes’ charm lay in their elegant simplicity: a single instrument. Grey skies. The camera just watching people do things for a while.

If the Cartier one had been done right, it would have stretched the B.C. scene to the full length. His role in Confederation and the making of Manitoba would have been narrated or inserted obliquely into the start of the conversation. And after he gives his line, there would have been a nice long pause to allow the other actors to react to the line.

That said, I always appreciate people going out and making an effort. If they just slowed the damned things down, we could be quoting lines from the next ones they make the way we say “But I need these baskets” or “IS THIS NORMAL?” now.

A listing of extinct British peerages

The following is an annotated and thorough (but not explicitly encyclopedical) guide to

Extinct British Peerages

These listings show the last instance of the given title being used. Almost all titles have gone extinct at some point, only to be reassigned later. These are titles that have yet to be reassigned, with the year they went extinct.

* denotes a member of the Royal Family.

**denotes the title was annulled upon merger with the Crown, i.e. its holder became King.

~ denotes title is in abeyance; although legitimate claimants to the title may exist, it would be so difficult to prove descent that it would be practically impossible.

If I missed any, let me know in the comments!


Peerage of England/GB/UK

Duke of Warwick 1446

Duke of Clarence 1478*

Duke of Monmouth 1685

Duke of Buckingham 1687

Duke of Albemarle 1688

Duke of Ormonde 1715 (attainted) (1)

Duke of Shrewsbury 1718

Duke of Shomberg 1719

Duke of Wharton 1731

Duchess of Portsmouth 1734 (2)

Duke of Buckingham and Normanby 1735

Duke of Greenwich 1743

Duchess of Kendal 1743 (3)

Duke of Cumberland 1765*

Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1768

Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull 1773

Duke of Southampton 1774

Duke of Chandos 1789

Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn 1790*

Duke of Montagu 1790

Duke of Bolton 1794

Duke of Bridgewater 1803

Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven 1809

Duke of York and Albany 1827*

Duke of Clarence and St. Andrews 1830**

Duke of Sussex 1843*

Duke of Dorset 1843

Duchess of Inverness 1873 (4)

Duke of Buckingham and Chandos 1889

Duke of Cleveland 1891

Duke of Clarence and Avondale 1892*

Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale 1919* (Peerages Deprivation Act) (5)

Duke of Albany 1919* (Peerages Deprivation Act) (5)

Duke of Connaught and Strathearn 1943*

Duke of Leeds 1964

Duke of Windsor 1972*

Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne 1988

Duke of Portland 1990

Peerage of Scotland

Duke of Ross 1515*

Duke of Kintyre and Lorne 1602*

Duke of Rothes 1681

Duke of Lauderdale 1682

Duke of Douglas 1761

Peerage of Ireland

Duke of Ormonde 1758 (de jure) (1)


Peerage of England/GB/UK

Marquess of Berkeley 1492

Marquess of Pembroke 1536* (6)

Marquess of Halifax 1700

Marquess of Harwich 1719

Marquess of Powis 1748

Marquess of Dorchester 1773

Marquess of Rockingham 1782

Marquess Grey 1797

Marquess Cornwallis 1823

Marquess of Dalhousie 1860

Marquess of Hastings 1868

Marquess of Breadalbane 1922

Marquess of Ripon 1923

Marquess Curzon of Kedleston 1925

Marquess of Lincolnshire 1928

Marquess of Crewe 1945

Marquess of Carisbrooke 1960*

Marquess of Carmarthen 1964

Marquess of Willingdon 1979

Marquess of Cambridge 1981*

Marquess of Dufferin and Ava 1988

Marquess of Ormonde 1997

Peerage of Scotland

Marquess of Annandale 1792

Marquess of Ormond 1625**

Peerage of Ireland

Marquess of Antrim 1791

Marquess of Ormonde 1820

Marquess Wellesley 1842

Marquess of Thomond 1855

Marquess of Westmeath 1871

Marquess of Drogheda 1892

Marquess of Clanricarde 1916


Peerage of England/GB/UK

Earl of Cornwall 1336

Earl of Hereford 1373~

Earl of Totnes 1629

Earl of Banbury 1632

Earl of Cumberland 1643

Earl Rivers 1650

Earl of Cleveland 1667

Earl of Dover 1677

Earl of Newport 1679

Earl of Conway 1683

Earl of St. Albans 1684

Earl of Buckingham 1687

Earl of Oxford 1703~

Earl of Bolingbroke 1711

Earl of Torrington 1716

Earl of Brentford 1719

Earl Castleton 1723

Earl of Godolphin 1731

Earl of Scarsdale 1736

Earl of Wilmington 1743

Earl of Rockingham 1746

Earl Clinton 1751

Earl of Rochester 1753

Earl of Grantham 1754

Earl FitzWalter 1756

Earl of Holland 1759

Earl of Anglesey 1761

Earl Coningsby 1761

Earl of Stafford 1762

Earl of Southampton 1774

Earl of Holderness 1778

Countess of Walsingham 1778 (7)

Earl Lingonier 1782

Earl of Malton 1782

Earl of Northington 1786

Earl Beaulieu 1802

Earl Fauconburg 1802

Earl of Dorchester 1808

Earl of Bath 1808

Earl of Peterborough 1814

Earl of Monmouth 1814

Earl of St. Vincent 1823

Earl Whitworth 1825

Earl of Bridgewater 1829

Earl of Rochford 1830

Earl Harcourt 1830

Earl of Chatham 1835

Earl of Norwich 1836

Earl of Dorset 1843

Earl of Middlesex 1843

Earl of Egremont 1845

Earl of Thanet 1849

Earl of Auckland 1849

Earl of Falmouth 1852

Earl Cornwallis 1852

Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer 1853 (8)

Earl Digby 1856

Earl FitzHardinge 1857

Earl of Harborough 1859

Earl Canning 1862

Earl of Pomfret 1867

Earl of Ellenborough 1871

Earl of Beaconsfield 1881

Earl of Warrington 1883

Earl Somers 1883

Earl of St. Maur 1885

Earl of Redesdale 1886

Earl Sydney 1890

Earl of Darlington 1891

Earl of Kent 1900*

Earl of Ravensworth 1904

Earl Cowper 1905

Earl de Montalt 1905

Earl Egerton 1909

Earl Brassey 1919

Earl Brownlow 1921

Earl Farquhar 1923

Earl Loreburn 1923

Earl of Ashburnham 1924

Earl of Northbrook 1929

Earl of Lathom 1930

Earl of Orford 1931

Earl of Camperdown 1933

Earl of Dartrey 1933

Earl Buxton 1934

Earl of Londesborough 1937

Countess Cave of Richmond 1938 (9)

Earl of Berkeley 1942

Earl of Sussex 1943*

Earl Wavell 1953

Earl Manvers 1955

Earl Roberts 1955

Earl Jowitt 1957

Earl of Athlone 1957*

Earl of Feversham 1963

Earl of Danby 1964

Earl Alexander of Hillsborough 1965

Earl of Chesterfield 1967

Earl Stanhope 1967

Earl of Kilmuir 1967

Earl Poulett 1973

Earl of Stamford 1976

Earl of Midleton 1979

Earl Beauchamp 1979

Earl of Ancaster 1983

Earl of Birkenhead 1985

Earl of Avon 1985

Earl of Ypres 1988

Earl Amherst 1993

Earl Sondes 1996

Earl of Munster 2000

Earl of Halsbury 2010

Earl Kitchener of Khartoum 2011

Peerage of Scotland

Earl of Ross 1625**

Earl of Irvine 1645

Earl of Dirletoun 1650

Earl of Forth 1651

Earl of Annandale 1658

Earl of Teviot 1664

Earl of Downe 1668

Earl of Hartfell 1672

Earl of Tarras 1693

Earl of Airth 1694

Earl of Menteith 1694

Earl of Melfort 1695 (attainted) (10)

Earl of Middleton 1695 (attainted) (10)

Earl of Forfar 1715

Earl of Ormond 1715

Earl of Panmure 1716 (attainted) (11)

Earl of Kilmarnock 1746 (attainted) (12)

Earl of Wigtown 1747

Earl of Dumbarton 1749

Earl of Marchmont 1794

Earl of Deloraine 1807

Earl of Ruglen 1810

Earl of Findlater 1811

Earl of Portmore 1835

Earl of Traquair 1861

Earl of Carnwath 1941

Peerage of Ireland

Earl of Leinster 1659

Earl of Gowran 1677

Earl of Ardglass 1687

Earl of Castlemaine 1705

Earl of Ranelagh 1711

Earl of Carbery 1713

Earl of Galway 1720

Earl of Carlingford 1738

Earl of Mount Alexander 1757

Earl of Catherlough 1772

Earl of Thomond 1774

Earl of Castlehaven 1777

Earl of Seaforth 1781

Earl Panmure 1782

Earl of Ely 1783

Earl of Shipbrook 1783

Earl Tylney 1784

Earl Wandesford 1784

Earl Verney 1791

Earl of Clanbrassil 1798

Earl of Louth 1799

Earl of Bellomont 1800

Earl Grandison 1800

Earl of Mountrath 1802

Earl of Clermont 1806

Earl Macartney 1806

Earl of Belvedere 1814

Earl of Glandore 1815

Earl of Massereene1816

Earl of Upper Ossory 1818

Earl of Barrymore 1823

Earl of Farnham 1823

Earl of Blessington 1829

Earl of Carhampton 1829

Earl Landaff 1833

Earl O’Neill 1841

Earl Ludlow 1842

Earl of Athlone 1844

Earl of Mountnorris 1844

Earl of Kilkenny 1846

Earl of Rathdowne 1848

Earl of Roscommon 1850

Earl of Tyrconnell 1853

Earl of Glengall 1858

Earl of Clare 1864

Earl of Charleville 1875

Earl of Aldborough 1875

Earl Nugent 1889

Earl of Bantry 1891

Earl of Milltown 1891

Earl of Charlemont 1892

Earl of Carysfort 1909

Earl of Howth 1909

Earl Fife 1912

Earl Mount Cashell 1915

Earl of Desart 1934

Earl of Clonmell 1935

Earl of Kenmare  1952

Earl of Leitrim 1952

Earl of Sefton 1972

Earl of Wicklow 1978

Earl of Bandon 1979

Earl Fitzwilliam 1979

Earl of Fingall 1984

Earl of Ormonde 1997

Earl of Lanesborough 1998

Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl 2011

Earl of Egmont 2011


Peerage of England/GB/UK

Viscount Lovell 1488? (13)

Viscount Welles 1498

Viscount Beaumont 1507

Viscount Howard of Bindon 1611

Viscount St Alban 1626

Viscount Dorchester 1632

Viscount Wimbledon 1638

Viscount Bayning of Sudbury 1638

Viscount Purbeck 1657

Viscount Stafford 1680 (attainted) (14)

Viscount Lisle 1743

Viscount Lonsdale 1751

Viscount Hatton 1762

Viscount Saye and Sele 1781

Viscount Keppel 1786

Viscount Montagu 1797

Viscount Nelson 1805

Viscount Fauconberg 1815

Viscount Keith 1823

Viscount Courtenay of Powderham 1835

Viscount Lake 1848

Viscount Ponsonby 1855

Viscount Beresford 1856

Viscount Maynard 1865

Viscountess Beaconsfield 1872 (15)

Viscount Ossington 1873

Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe 1880

Viscount Hughenden 1881

Viscount Cardwell 1886

Viscount Lyons 1887

Viscount Eversley 1888

Viscount Sherbrooke 1892

Viscount Oxenbridge 1898

Viscount Llandaff 1913

Viscount Alverstone 1915

Viscount Sandhurst 1921

Viscount Bryce 1922

Viscount Northcliffe 1922

Viscount Morley of Blackburn 1923

Viscount Pirrie 1924

Viscount Milner 1925

Viscount Cave of Richmond 1928

Viscount Haldane 1928

Viscount Gladstone 1930

Viscount Grey of Fallodon 1933

Viscount Burnham 1933

Viscount Novar 1934

Viscount Sumner 1934

Viscount Byng of Vimy 1935

Viscount Wolseley 1936

Viscount Snowden 1937

Viscount Horne of Slamannan 1940

Viscount Canterbury 1941

Viscount D’Abernon 1941

Viscount Wakefield 1941

Viscount Dunedin 1942

Viscount Wolverhampton 1943

Viscount Plumer 1944

Viscount Dawson of Penn 1945

Viscount Finlay 1945

Viscount Southwood 1946

Viscount Bennett 1947

Viscount Lee of Fareham 1947

Viscount Sankey 1948

Viscount Tredegar 1949

Viscount Bertie of Thame 1954

Viscount Cherwell 1957

Viscount Bracken 1958

Viscount Cecil of Chelwood 1958

Viscount Rhondda 1958

Viscount Ruffside 1958

Viscount Templewood 1959

Viscount Cilcennin 1960

Viscount Crookshank 1961

Viscount Elibank 1962

Viscount FitzAlan of Derwent 1962

Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope 1963

Viscount Hudson 1963

Viscount Hyndley 1963

Viscount Nuffield 1963

Viscount Hewart 1964

Viscount Bruce of Melbourne 1967

Viscount Portal of Hungerford 1971

Viscount Simonds 1971

Viscount Radcliffe 1977

Viscount Harcourt 1979

Viscount Amory 1981

Viscount Chaplin 1981

Viscount Maugham 1981

Viscount Hall 1985

Viscount Ward of Witley 1988

Viscount Muirshiel 1992

Viscount Monsell 1993

Viscount Furness 1995

Viscount Watkinson 1995

Viscount Tonypandy 1997

Viscount Lambert 1999

Viscount Whitelaw 1999

Viscount Leverhulme 2000

Viscount Greenwood 2003

Viscount Cross 2004

Viscount Ingleby 2008

Peerage of Scotland

Viscount of Melgum 1630

Viscount of Belhaven 1639

Viscount Aboyne 1649

Viscount Teviot 1711

Viscount Newhaven 1728

Viscount Preston 1739

Viscount of Primrose 1741

Viscount of Irvine 1778

Viscount of Kenmure 1847~

Peerage of Ireland

Viscount Clontarf 1547

Viscount Butler of Tulleophelim 1613

Viscount Somerset 1649

Viscount Monson 1660 (degraded) (16)

Viscount Bellomont 1667

Viscount Baltinglass 1672

Viscount Tara 1674

Viscount Ogle 1682

Viscount Brouncker 1688

Viscount Hewett 1689

Viscount Clanmalier 1691

Viscount Chaworth 1693

Viscount Beaumont of Swords 1702

Viscount Decies 1704

Viscount Carrington 1706

Viscount Fitzhardinge 1712

Viscount Fanshawe 1716

Viscount Scudamore 1716

Viscount Blesington 1732

Viscount Micklethwaite 1734

Viscount Shannon 1740

Viscount Tyrconnel 1754

Viscount Blundell 1756

Viscount Fane 1766

Viscount Fairfax of Emley 1772

Viscount Clare 1788

Viscount Vane  1789

Viscount Langford 1796

Viscount Tracy 1797

Viscount Wenman 1800

Viscount Bateman 1802

Viscount Longueville 1811

Viscount Bulkeley 1822

Viscount Newcomen 1825

Viscount Carleton 1826

Viscount Clermont 1829

Viscount Kilwarden 1830

Viscount FitzWilliam 1833

Viscount Barnewall 1834

Viscount Castlemaine 1839

Viscount Preston 1842

Viscount Allen 1845

Viscount Carlingford 1853

Viscount Melbourne 1853

Viscount Dungannon 1855

Viscount O’Neill 1855

Viscount Palmerston 1865

Viscount Strangford 1869

Viscount Netterville 1882

Viscount Ranelagh 1885

Viscount Lismore 1898

Viscount Cullen 1938

Viscount Mount Cashell 1915

Viscount Frankfort de Montmorency 1917

Viscount Mountmorres 1951

Viscount Guillamore 1955

Viscount Clifden 1974

Viscount Templetown 1981

Viscount Barrington 1990

Viscount Lanesborough 1998

Baronies and Lordships of Parliament

Peerage of England/GB/UK

Baron Montagu 1538 (attainted) (17)

Baron Belasyse 1713

Baron Torrington 1719

Baron Lechmere 1727

Baron Lansdowne 1735

Baron Mansel 1750

Baron Raymond 1756

Baron Anson 1762

Baron Melcombe 1762

Baron Langdale of Holme 1777

Baron Archer 1778

Baron Hume of Berwick 1794

Baron Perth 1800

Baron Camelford 1804

Baron Chedworth 1804

Baron Delaval 1808

Baron Collingwood 1810

Baron Heathfield 1813

Baron Stawell 1820

Baron Glastonbury 1825

Baron Amesbury 1832

Baron Gambier 1833

Baron Grenville 1834

Baron de Dunstanville 1835

Baron Stowell 1836

Baron Selsey 1838

Baron Sydenham 1841

Baron Rolle 1842

Baron Lynedoch 1843

Baron Wallace 1844

Baron Western 1844

Baron Montagu of Boughton 1845

Baron Stuart de Rothesay 1845

Baron Metcalfe 1846

Baron Carteret 1849

Baron Bexley 1851

Baron Langdale 1851

Baron Dinorben 1852

Baron Colborne 1854

Baron Basset 1855

Baron Alvanley 1857

Baron Macaulay 1859

Baron Clyde 1863

Baron Lyndhurst 1863

Baron Bayning 1864

Baron Glenelg 1866

Baron Ponsonby of Imokilly 1866

Baron Kingsdown 1867

Baron Llanover 1867

Baron Dunfermline 1868

Baron Broughton 1869

Baron Taunton 1869

Baron Wenman 1870

Baron Dalling and Bulwer 1872

Baron Marjoribanks 1873

Baron Colonsay 1874

Baron Stuart de Decies 1874

Baron Lisgar 1876

Baron Lanerton 1880

Baron Rivers 1880

Baron Hanmer 1881

Baron Hatherley 1881

Baron Overstone 1883

Baron Strathnairn 1885

Baron Farnborough 1886

Baron Waveney 1886

Baron Northwick 1887

Baron Blachford 1889

Baron Crewe 1894

Baron de Tabley 1895

Baron Dover 1899

Baron Penzance 1899

Baron Truro 1899

Baron Keane 1901

Baroness Burdett-Coutts 1906 (18)

Baron Kelvin 1907

Baron Lister 1912

Baron Gwydyr 1915

Baron Kesteven 1915

Baron FitzHardinge 1916

Baron Colchester 1919

Baron Seaforth 1923

Baron Abercromby 1924

Baron Ribblesdale 1925

Baron Bateman 1931

Baron Emly 1932

Baron Wenlock 1932

Baron Castletown 1937

Baron Tenterden 1939

Baron Alington 1940

Baron Bingley 1947

Baron Berwick 1953

Baron Seaton 1955

Baron Egerton 1958

Baron Tredegar 1962

Baron Dorchester 1963

Baron Nugent 1973

Baron Romilly 1983

Baron Ormathwaite 1984

Baron St Leonards 1985

Baron Sherborne 1985

Baron Greville 1987

Baron Lurgan 1991

Baron Calthorpe 1997

Peerage of Scotland

Lord Lyle 1551

Lord Haliburton of Dirleton 1584 (attainted) (19)

Lord Pittenweem 1625

Lord Barrett of Newburgh 1645

Lord Ochiltree 1675

Lord Abercrombie 1681

Lord Cramond 1735

Lord Balmerino 1746 (attainted) (20)

Lord Coupar 1746 (attainted) (20)

Lord Oliphant 1748

Lord Aston of Forfar 1751 (disputed; possibly 1845) (21)

Lord Ross 1754

Lord Cranstoun 1869

Lord Duffus 1875

Lord Blantyre 1900

Lord Kinnaird 1997

Peerage of Ireland

Baron Portlester 1496

Baron Glean-O’Mallun 1622

Baron Balfour of Glenawley 1636

Baron Hervey 1642

Baron Esmonde 1646

Baron Dockwra 1647

Baron Chichester of Belfast 1675

Baron Bourke of Brittas 1691 (attainted) (22)

Baron Bourke of Castleconnell 1691 (attainted) (22)

Baron Herbert of Castle Island 1691

Baron Shelburne 1696

Baron Cutts 1707

Baron Gorges of Dundalk 1712

Baron Folliott 1716

Baron Brereton 1722

Baron Ferrard 1731

Baron Darcy of Navan 1733

Baron Wyndham 1745

Baron Barry of Santry 1751

Baron Sundon 1752

Baron Ranelagh 1754

Baron Kingsborough 1755

Baron Blakeney 1761

Baron Bellew of Duleek 1770

Baron Baltimore 1771

Baron St George 1775

Baron de Montalt 1777

Baron Pigot 1777

Baron Eyre 1781

Baron Fortescue of Credan 1781

Baron Tracton 1782

Baron Waltham 1787

Baron Hawley 1790

Baron Newhaven 1794

Baron Holmes 1804

Baron Lavington 1807

Baroness Fermanagh 1810 (23)

Baron Lecale 1810

Baron Callan 1815

Baron Tara 1821

Baron Tyrawley 1821

Baron Glenbervie 1823

Baron Keith 1823

Baron Eardley 1824

Baron Whitworth 1825

Baron Hartland 1845

Baron Mount Sandford 1846

Baron Rancliffe 1850

Baron Montfort 1851

Baron FitzGerald and Vesey 1860

Baron Riversdale 1861

Baron Downes 1863

Baron Howden 1873

Baron Blayney 1874

Baron Ongley 1877

Baron Bloomfield 1879

Baron Rokeby 1883

Baron Sydney 1890

Baron Clermont 1898

Baron Dunsandle and Clanconal 1911

Baron Muncaster 1917

Baron de Blaquiere 1920

Baron Wallscourt 1920

Baron Clonbrock 1926

Baron Athlumney 1929

Baron Cloncurry 1929

Baron Clarina 1952

Baron Radstock 1953

Baron Pierrepont 1955

Baron Teignmouth 1981

Baron Headley 1994


(1) James Butler, 12th Earl of Ormonde, was made Duke of Ormonde in the peerages of England and Ireland for his service fighting Cromwell’s forces in Ireland for the Royalists. His son, the 2nd duke, was stripped of his titles for his support of the First Jacobite Rebellion in 1715 by a bill of attainder (an act of parliament that declares a person guilty of a crime and imposes punishment). However, a court case in 1791 involving the 17th Earl of Ormonde found the bill only applied to the Duke’s English titles, and not his Irish ones. This means the 2nd Duke’s brother Charles had been de jure the 3rd Duke of Ormonde in the Irish peerage, though he made no claim to it in his life. The dukedom died with him in 1758.

(2) A mistress of Charles II, she was given the title in her own right, and died with her.

(3) A mistress of George I, she was given the title in her own right, and died with her.

(4) The second wife of Prince Augustus, Duke of Sussex, their marriage contravened the Royal Marriages Act of 1774 and she was therefore not allowed to be styled a princess or the Duchess of Sussex. Queen Victoria granted her the title of Duchess of Inverness after Sussex’s death.

(5) The Peerages Deprivation Act of 1917 permits Parliament to strip peers of their titles if they side with an enemy country in wartime. This was applied in 1919 to the Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale (King of Hanover and grandson of Victoria’s uncle Prince Ernest) and the Duke of Albany (Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and son of Victoria’s fourth son Prince Leopold), who sided with Germany in World War I. However, the terms of the Act state that their heirs may petition Parliament for the restoration of their titles.

(6) Henry VIII made Anne Boleyn the Marquess of Pembroke shortly before their marriage, the first English woman made a peer in her own right. The title was either forfeited on her conviction for treason in 1536 or died out upon her execution that same year, but some scholars argue it merged with the Crown when she became Queen in 1533.

(7) George I’s illegitimate daughter with the Duchess of Kendal.

(8)The title’s name is “Oxford and Earl Mortimer”, due to the outstanding claim by relatives of the de Vere family that legitimate heirs of the Earldom of Oxford, dormant since 1703, may still exist.

(9) Sir George Cave served as Home Secretary under Lloyd George and became the 1st Viscount Cave in 1918. He then served as Lord Chancellor  under Baldwin from 1922 to 1924 and 1924 to 1928. His candidacy for an earldom was declared in 1928 upon receipt of his resignation as Lord Chancellor. Cave announced his resignation on 28 March 1928, to be approved the following day. However, on 29 March 1928 Cave died at his home in Somerset. it was decided to give the earldom to his widow, which went extinct when she died childless in 1938.

(10) The earls of Melfort and Middleton were attainted for their continued support of James II after the Glorious Revolution. They went with him in exile to France and continued to advise the Old Pretender.

(11) Attainted for opposing George I in the First Jacobite Rebellion.

(12) The 4th Earl of Kilmarnock was attainted and executed in 1746 for his support of the Second Jacobite Rebellion.

(13) The 1st Viscount Lovell was a lifelong friend and supporter of Richard III, and fled England after Richard’s defeat at Bosworth Field in 1485; the last known record of his existence is a letter from James IV of Scotland offering him safe passage, dating from 1488. The year and circumstances of his death are totally unknown, although it is certain he left no legitimate male heirs.

(14) Lord Stafford was attainted and executed in 1680 after being found guilty of conspiring to assassinate Charles II, a victim of the larger conspiracy of anti-Catholic hysteria fabricated by the clergyman Titus Oates now known as the Popish Plot. Oates was later found guilty of perjury and imprisoned.

(15) Queen Victoria bestowed the title of Viscountess Beaconsfield upon Mary Disraeli so she could enjoy the social benefits of the peerage without her husband, prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, giving up his seat in the House of Commons. Benjamin Disraeli was created Earl of Beaconsfield in 1876, four years after Mary’s death.

(16) The Viscount Monson was one of the judicial commissioners to sign the death warrant of Charles I in 1649. Upon the Restoration in 1660 Parliament passed the Act of Indemnity and Oblivion, which named Lord Monson, among others, as being responsible for the regicide of Charles I. For this crime he was degraded from his titles (as he had no heir, they went extinct) and sentenced to life imprisonment, where he died in 1672.

(17) Henry Pole, 1st Baron Montagu, was attainted in 1538 and executed in 1539 by Henry VIII, ostensibly for treason but more likely because Pole was one of the few surviving Plantagenets and therefore a legitimate claimant to the throne. His brother, Reginald Pole, was the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury and had already fled England for opposing the divorce of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.

(18) Angela Burdett-Coutts was made a baroness by Queen Victoria in 1871 in recognition of her many charitable works, one of the very few times a hereditary peerage was awarded to a woman entirely on her own merits.

(19) William Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie and 9th Lord Haliburton of Dirleton, was attainted and executed in 1534 for his role in leading the Ruthven Raid, a plan to abduct James VI of Scotland and impose reforms on the Scottish government.

(20) Arthur Elphinstone, 6th Lord Balmerino and 5th Lord Coupar, was attainted and executed in 1746 for his support of the Second Jacobite Rebellion.

(21) Most authorities agree that the lordship of Aston of Forfar died with the 5th lord in 1751. The lordship is believed theoretically to have then passed on to a descendant of the 1st lord’s uncle, although this descendant never laid claim to the title. The last possible claimant to the lordship died in 1845.

(22) The 3rd Baron Bourke of Brittas and his cousin the 8th Baron Bourke of Castleconnell were attainted in 1691 for opposing William III during the Glorious Revolution.

(23) Mary Verney was the posthumous daughter of the younger son of the 1st Earl Verney, and was created a peer to preserve her social standing. She never married and the title died with her.

Supreme Court Season, Part 11

Joseph Bradley, George Shiras Jr., William R. Day, Pierce Butler, Frank Murphy, Tom C. Clark, Thurgood Marshall, Clarence Thomas

Joseph Bradley, George Shiras Jr., William R. Day, Pierce Butler, Frank Murphy, Tom C. Clark, Thurgood Marshall, Clarence Thomas

The last time a new seat was created on the Supreme Court was in 1869, when Congress bumped the number back up to nine after the hated Andrew Johnson left office. Ulysses Grant’s first choice for the new seat was Ebenezer Hoar, the Attorney-General; but Hoar’s stance against unregulated patronage in civil service hiring and his opposition to the impeachment of Andrew Johnson worked against him, and his nomination was defeated in the Senate in December 1869. Grant, on Hoar’s advice, then chose Joseph Bradley (1813-1892), who was approved and took office on March 21, 1870.

Joseph Philo Bradley was born in a small town near Albany and was given a loan by the local Dutch Reformed Church to study for the clergy at Rutgers; he switched to law instead and graduated in 1836. He was a school headmaster after graduation until a classmate persuaded him to read law under the Office of the Collector for the Port of Newark, and he passed the bar in 1839, striking out on his own to practice patent and railroad law in New Jersey and gained a nationwide reputation as a commercial litigator.

In his findings Bradley took a broad view of Congress’s power to regulate commerce, but a narrow interpretation of the 14th Amendment. He was responsible for bringing United States v. Cruikshank to the Supreme Court’s attention in 1875 (he joined Nathan Clifford’s dissent, which found the Bill of Rights also restricted individuals, but also moved to rescind the rioters’ indictments, on the grounds that the indictments were worded too vaguely)and also decided the case of In re Guiteau, in which Bradley denied a writ of habeas corpus (used to remove someone from unlawful detention) to Charles Guiteau, the man who assassinated James Garfield. Bradley was the justice who replaced David Davis on the 1876 election commission, thereby throwing the presidency to Rutherford Hayes.

Bradley became very sick, most likely of tuberculosis, and left the Court to recover in October of 1891. He died the following January.

George Shiras, Jr. (1832-1924) replaced Bradley on July 26, 1892. To date, Shiras is the only person to be elevated to the Supreme Court without any prior elective, governmental or judicial experience whatsoever.

George Shiras, Jr. was born in Pittsburgh and went to Ohio U and Yale. He dropped out of Yale Law School and practiced law in Dubuque, Iowa, for three years until 1858, when he returned to Pittsburgh. He became a bigwig on the legal scene in Pittsburgh over the next 34 years as a attorney for major industrial interests; his one small brush with politics came when he agreed to be one of Pennsylvania’s sinecural electors in the presidential election of 1888.

George Shiras wrote 259 opinions over 11 years on the Court. He was the swing vote in 1895’s Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co., which overturned the federal income tax.

Shiras submitted his resignation in February 1903, as he had promised himself he would only sit on the Court for 10 years. He lived for another 21 years, splitting his time between vacation homes in Florida and Michigan, and died of pneumonia in August 1924 at his home in Pittsburgh.

Theodore Roosevelt chose William R. Day (1849-1923) to replace Shiras, and he took his seat on March 2, 1903.

William Rufus Day, the son of a justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, was born in Ravenna, Ohio (near Akron) and graduated from UMichigan in 1870 before studying law for a year and settling in Canton, Ohio, to set up practice. From 1872 to 1897 he was a criminal and corporate lawyer and became friends with fellow Canton attorney William McKinley. Day was an advisor to McKinley during his campaigns for Congressman, Governor, and President, and McKinley appointed Day Assistant Secretary of State in 1897 and promoted him to Secretary of State in 1898, but Day resigned five months later to join the peace commission following the Spanish-American War. Day returned from the peace treaty’s signing in Paris in February 1899 and was appointed to the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

In 19 years, Day wrote 439 opinions, but only 18 dissents. He was very anti-trust and a frequent supporter of breaking up monopolies. He wrote the court opinion in 1908’s Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus, which established a rule for determining distribution rights in copyright law known as the “first-sale doctrine”; 1913’s Bauer & Cie. v. O’Donnell, which found that the creation of licensing agreements do not extend the length of patent rights; Weeks v. United States of 1914, which found that evidence collected by the federal government in violation of the 4th Amendment could be found inadmissible in court; and Buchanan v. Warley of 1917, which ruled municipal ordinances segregating neighbourhoods to be unconstitutional. Interestingly, records show that Day had a law clerk regularly come in to interrupt arguments in the case of Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Co. v. United States in 1912 with updates on the World Series. (The winners were the United States, which broke up a cartel of 49 plumbing-fixture companies known as the Bathtub Trust, and the Red Sox, which beat the Giants 4-2 in the 10th inning, in the 8th game of the series.)

Day retired in November 1922 and briefly served on a commission to adjudicate war claims against Germany, where his title was, bizarrely, “Umpire”. He died in July 1923 on Mackinac Island, in the mouth of Lake Michigan. He was buried in Canton.

Pierce Butler (1866-1939) was appointed to the Supreme court on December 21, 1922, by Warren Harding, and took office on January 2, 1923. He served for 16 years.

Pierce Butler was born to poor Irish immigrants in a log cabin in Minnesota. He went to Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., and passed the bar in 1888. He served as county attorney for Ramsey County (including St. Paul) from 1892 to 1898, and moved to Canada from 1912 to 1922 to practice railway law in Toronto.

Pierce Butler was one of the “Four Horsemen” who stymied the New Deal during the Depression. He believed in the doctrine of incorporation and was the lone dissenter in Palko v. Connecticut of 1937, which found that double jeopardy did not apply to the states, and the lone dissenter in 1928’s Buck v. Bell, which found that goverments had the right to sterilize the feeble-minded. (History would eventually prove him right on both counts.) He also dissented in 1928’s Olmstead v. United States, which upheld the legality of federal wiretapping.

Butler died in DC in November of 1939 and was buried in St. Paul.

Frank Murphy (1890-1949) was appointed to the Supreme Court on January 18, 1940. He was one of only five justices of the Supreme Court to never get married, the others being James McReynolds, Benjamin Cardozo, David Souter and Elena Kagan.

William Francis Murphy was born to an Irish family in Michigan, on the shores of Lake Huron northeast of Saginaw. He got an LLB from the University of Michigan in 1914, then studied law at Lincoln’s Inn in London and did graduate work at Trinity College, Dublin. He served in Germany as a Captain in World War I and came back to practice law in Detroit, and soon embarked on holding a string of public offices: First Assistant US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan from 1919 to 1923, judge of the Recorders’ Court of Detroit from 1923 to 1930, Mayor of Detroit from 1930 to 1933, and Governor-General of the Philippines from 1933 to 1935, a position abolished by the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934 and replaced by the transitional post of High Commissioner, in which Murphy served from 1935 to 1936; he was then governor of Michigan from 1937 to 1939 and Attorney-General from 1939 to 1940.

In the nine years Murphy was on the Court he wrote 199 opinions, 68 of them dissenting. He took an expansive view of civil liberties and was nicknamed “the Saint” by Felix Frankfurter for making decisions based on passion rather than reason. He dissented vehemently in Korematsu v. United States, calling it “the legalization of racism”. (That was actually the very first time the word “racism” was used in a Supreme Court opinion.) During World War II he served as an infantry officer at Ft. Benning, Ga., during recesses of the Court, while also serving as chairman of both the the National Committee against Nazi Persecution and Extermination of the Jews and of the Philippine War Relief Committee.

Murphy died of a coronary thrombosis in Detroit in July 1949. He was engaged to be married that August.

Tom C. Clark (1899-1977) joined the Supreme Court on August 19, 1949, and served for 18 years.

Thomas Campbell Clark was born in Dallas and served for a spell in the Texas National Guard during World War I before he got into UT Law, graduating in 1922 and practicing privately in Dallas until 1937, except for a period between 1927 and 1932 when he became the city’s civil DA. He joined the federal Justice Department in 1937 as a specialist in war risk litigation, co-ordinated the establishment of Japanese internment camps in 1942, became head of the Justice Department’s anti-trust division in 1943, headed its criminal division from 1943 to 1945, and served as Attorney-General from 1945 to 1949.

Clark was a conservative justice, and Truman later regretted appointing him. Nevertheless, he opposed segregation and later proved to be a crucial vote in expanding civil liberties in the Warren Court. he wrote the majority opinion in 1961’s Mapp v. Ohio, which used the incorporation doctrine to apply the rules on searches and seizures in the 4th Amendment to state law.

In 1967 Lyndon Johnson appointed Ramsey Clark, Tom C. Clark’s son, as Attorney-General. Tom C. Clark saw this as a conflict of interest and assumed senior status on June 12, effectively retiring. He served as a visiting judge to lesser federal courts and as a director of the Federal Judicial Center before he died in NYC in the summer of 1977.

Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993), the first black person – the first visible minority – to become a justice of the Supreme Court, the justice more revered than nearly any other member of the Supreme Court, was nominated by president Lyndon Johnson on June 12, 1967, was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 69 to 11 on August 30, and was sworn in on October 2.

Thoroughgood Marshall (he changed it in second grade to make it easier to spell) was born in Baltimore and went to Lincoln University in Oxford, Penn., to become a dentist, and was suspended twice in his freshman year for hazing. He started getting serious about school and law after getting married in 1929, graduating from Lincoln and going to Howard University Law School in DC, graduating in 1933. In 1936 he set up private practice in Baltimore, and also started his work with the NAACP. He became chief counsel to the NAACP in 1940 and argued 32 cases before the Supreme Court in that role, of which he won 29, including Brown v. Board of Education. During this time he became friendly with FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and privately encouraged the FBI’s campaign to discredit maverick civil rights leader T.R.M. Howard. President Kennedy appointed Marshall to the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in 1961 and President Johnson appointed him Solicitor-General in 1965, where he won 14 of the 19 cases he argued for the government before the Supreme Court.

Marshall was a liberal justice and a supporter of individual liberties, allying most often with William Brennan. He was very strongly opposed to the death penalty, voting against it at every opportunity. He wrote the decision for 1976’s TSC Industries, Inc. v. Northway, Inc., which set out a rubric used to this day in securities law concerning the materiality of false or misleading statements. He wrote a dissent arguing against hiring policies favouring veterans in Personnel Administrator of Massachusetts v. Feeney of 1979 because such policies would (at the time) be biased against women applicants.

Marshall retired in 1991 and died of heart failure at Bethesda in 1993. The Baltimore airport, the law school of Texas Southern University, the central office building for the federal court system in Washington, and the law library of the University of Maryland are named after him, and has a feast day (May 17) in the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church of America. his son, Thurgood Marshall Jr., is chairman of the Board of Governors of the US Postal Service.

Clarence Thomas (1948-present) was chosen by George Bush Sr. to replace Marshall and took his seat on October 23, 1991. His confirmation hearings were turned into tabloid fodder by the accusations of Anita Hill, a subordinate, who claimed Thomas sexually harassed her. Thomas was confirmed by a vote of 52 to 48.

Clarence Thomas was born in the small Gullah-speaking coastal town of Pin Point, Georgia, and grew up in Savannah. He attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and graduated from Yale Law School in 1974. He was an assistant attorney-general in Missouri from 1974 to 1977, starting in the criminal division and moving on to revenue and taxation. He eventually moved to Washington, DC, to head the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education from 1981 to 1982, then was chairman of the EEOC from 1982 to 1990 and a judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit from 1990 to 1991.

Thomas, nicknamed “Scalia’s Shadow” for his frequent joining to Antonin Scalia’s opinions, is a conservative justice. He is in favour of interpreting the Constitution literally (also known as “strict construction”) and supports the principle of stare decisis. He interprets the 1st Amendment more broadly than almost any other justice, but interprets the 4th Amendment very narrowly. His decisions have limited federal use of the power to regulate interstate commerce; especially in his concurrences in 1995’s United States v. Lopez and in 2000’s United States v. Morrison, which limited that power strictly to actual economic activities.


And that is that, every justice ever to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. As an addendum, I suggest you go here to find a very insightful look into the Court’s latest major cases, Fisher v. University of Texas (affirmative action), United States v. Windsor (gay marriage), and Shelby County v. Holder (the Voting Rights Act).

Supreme Court Season, part 10

John McKinley, John A. Campbell, David Davis, John Marshall Harlan I, Mahlon Pitney, Edward T. Sanford, Owen Roberts, Harold Hitz Burton, Potter Stewart, Sandra Day O'Connor, Samuel Alito

John McKinley, John A. Campbell, David Davis, John Marshall Harlan I, Mahlon Pitney, Edward T. Sanford, Owen Roberts, Harold Hitz Burton, Potter Stewart, Sandra Day O’Connor, Samuel Alito

In 1836 Congress approved the increase of the Supreme Court from seven to nine justices. The junior of these two new justices was John McKinley (1780-1852), appointed on April 22, 1837, by Martin van Buren.

John McKinley was born in northern Virginia and moved to Kentucky as a baby. He passed the Kentucky bar in 1800 and practiced in Louisville and Frankfort before moving to Huntsville, Alabama, in 1819. He served for a while in the state assembly before serving as a US Senator from 1826 to 1831, and again from March to April of 1837.

McKinley’s service consisted of 14 years of competent yet entirely unremarkable service. He died in the summer of 1852 in Louisville.

Millard Fillmore, his term nearly over, selected a number of candidates for the empty seat, none of which panned out. One of the men who refused Fillmore’s offer, Judah S. Benjamin of Louisiana, would have been the first Jew on the Supreme Court had he accepted. (Benjamin’s life is fairly incredible as it was: he served as Secretary of State in the Confederate government, and after the Civil War he moved to England and became a barrister of the Queen’s Counsel.) The seat stayed vacant until March 23, 1853, when president Franklin Pierce appointed John A. Campbell (1811-1889).

John Archibald Campbell was born in northern Georgia and was a child prodigy, graduating from the University of Georgia at 14. He enrolled at West Point, but dropped out when his father died. (Campbell was at West Point around Christmas of 1826, during which time there was a massive fracas known as the Eggnog Riot, for which 20 cadets were court-martialed and nine were expelled. Campbell was involved with the riot, but not charged, as was future Confederate president Jefferson Davis. Future Confederate general Robert E. Lee was at West Point at the time as well, and testified at the court-martial hearings.) Campbell was admitted to the Georgia bar at the age of 18, and later moved to Montgomery, Alabama, before settling in Mobile in 1839 to practice law and serve intermittently in the state legislature. He became a colonel of the US Army in 1836 by serving under Gen. Winfield “Old Fuss and Feathers” Scott in the Second Creek War, which forcibly removed the Muscogee Creek Natives from Alabama and deported them to Oklahoma.

Campbell did little on the Supreme Court. He resigned on April 30, 1861, upon learning of the attack on Ft. Sumter, and returned to Alabama. He served as Assistant Secretary of War to the Confederate government from 1862 to 1865, and was imprisoned for 6 months in Georgia after the Confederate capital at Richmond fell to Union forces. After the war he practiced law in New Orleans, and died in the spring of 1889 in Baltimore.

Abe Lincoln replaced Campbell with David Davis (1815-1886), a close friend and colleague, on October 17, 1862. He served until he was elected to the Senate in 1877. He is the only judge of the Supreme Court with no recorded religious affiliation.

David Davis was born to a rich family in Maryland and went to Kenyon College and to Yale, graduating in 1835. He then moved to Bloomingdale, Illinois, to practice law. He was a judge of the Illinois 8th Circuit from 1848 to 1862, was a delegate to the 1860 Republican National Convention, and was Lincoln’s campaign manager during the 1860 election.

On the Court, Davis wrote the majority opinion in 1866’s Ex parte Milligan, which found that military courts could not try civilians if civil courts are available. Politically, Davis was an Independent, although he tried and failed to receive the Liberal Republican Party presidential nomination in 1872.

In 1876 disputes over results in several states led to a tie in the election for President. A bill was passed to appoint a deciding commission composed of five members each from the House, Senate and Supreme Court; it would also have 7 Democrats, 7 Republicans, and Davis, the Independent. The Democrat-controlled legislature of Illinois, hoping to curry favour, elected Davis to the Senate. It backfired, however, since Davis resigned from both the Court and the commission and was replaced by a Republican justice, resulting in Republican Rutherford Hayes winning by a vote of 8 to 7.

Davis served one term in the Senate, from 1877 to 1883. He was also president pro tempore of the Senate from 1881 to 1883, during which time he was next in line to the presidency, if anything were to happen to President Chester Arthur (until 1967, if the vice-president assumed the presidency, as Arthur did after James Garfield’s assassination, the vice-presidency stayed vacant until the next election).

Davis died in Bloomington in June 1886. At the time of his death he was the largest private landowner in Illinois.

Rutherford Hayes, fresh off his win, replaced Davis with John Marshall Harlan I (1833-1911), who took office on November 29, 1877. He was the grandfather of John Marshall Harlan II, another Supreme Court justice.

John Marshall Harlan I was born near Danville, Kentucky, and went to law school at Transylvania University. He served as adjutant general of Kentucky from 1851 to 1859, starting as a Whig and later joining the Know-Nothings before supporting the Constitutional Union Party during the 1860 election. He was an anti-secessionist and served as a colonel in the 10th Kentucky Infantry until resigning to take care of his family in 1863. He was elected Attorney-General of Kentucky later that year, serving until 1865. He joined the Republicans in 1868 and practiced law in Louisville.

Harlan loved being on the Supreme Court, got along well with his benchmates and did good work, supplementing his income by teaching law at Columbian Law School (now part of George Washington University). He was the only justice to dissent from Plessy v. Ferguson, and also dissented from Lochner v. New York. He was called “the Great Dissenter”.

Harlan died in October 1911 in Washington after 33 years of service, the sixth-longest tenure in Supreme Court history.

Mahlon Pitney (1858-1924) joined the Court on March 13, 1912, to replace Harlan. Pitney was one of two justices (with Willis Van Devanter) to be appointed by William Howard Taft as President and serve under him as Chief Justice.

Mahlon Pitney was born in Morristown, New Jersey, and graduated from Rutgers in 1879. He served as a Republican Congressman from 1895 to 1899, as a New Jersey state senator from 1898 to 1901, an associate justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1901 to 1908, and Chancellor of the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1908 to 1912.

Pitney was a social Darwinist, libertarian and believer in substantive due process. His most important decision was the court opinion for 1917’s New York Central Railroad Co. v. White, which ruled that employers could be held liable for workplace injuries regardless of fault.

Pitney resigned from the Supreme Court in 1922 after suffering a stroke. He died in DC in December 1924. his great-grandson was Christopher Reeve, the best Superman.

Edward T. Sanford (1865-1930) was appointed on January 29, 1923, and served a little over 7 years.

Edward Terry Sanford was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1883, and from Harvard Law School in 1889, then practiced in Knoxville and lectured at UTennessee School of Law from 1898 to 1907. He served as US Assistant Attorney-General from 1907 to 1908, where he was the lead prosecutor in 1907’s United States v. Shipp, the Supreme Court’s only criminal trial. (Guilty!) He sat as a judge of the US District Court for the Middle and Eastern Districts of Tennessee from 1908 to 1923.

Sanford was a decidedly conservative justice, frequently siding with Chief Justice Taft. He wrote 130 opinions in his time on the Supreme Court, the most important being the majority opinion in Gitlow v. New York in 1925. It upheld a state ban on anarchist literature, but it also implied that the 14th Amendment obliged states to comply with some sections of the Bill of Rights. This was the birth of the doctrine of incorporation, without which the Civil Rights Era wouldn’t have happened.

Sanford died of kidney failure on March 8, 1930, a few hours before William Howard Taft died. He was buried in Knoxville.

Herbert Hoover nominated North Carolina’s John J. Parker to the vacancy; however, his nomination was opposed by labour groups, and was defeated in the Senate. Hoover then filled the spot with Owen Roberts (1875-1955) on May 20, 1930. Throughout World War II he was the only Republican appointee on the Supreme Court.

Owen Josephus Roberts was born in Philadelphia and graduated at the top of his class from UPenn Law School in 1898. He was an assistant DA in Philly and was appointed by Calvin Coolidge to investigate the Teapot Dome Scandal in 1923, leading to the conviction and imprisonment of Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall for bribe-taking. Roberts then returned to private practice until 1930.

Roberts was a swing vote on the Court, and his leanings toward the opinions of justices McReynolds, Sutherland, Butler and Van Devanter agaist New Deal legislation frustrated FDR to the point where he planned to make a 15-seat Supreme Court stacked with liberal justices. Roberts’s 1937 switch to the liberal side in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish legitimized minimum-wage legislation, ended the Lochner Era and put an end to FDR’s court-stacking plans, making Roberts’s decision “the switch in time that saved the Nine”. Roberts was also concerned with civil liberties: he dissented on Korematsu v. United States and wrote the majority opinion in 1938’s New Negro Alliance v. Sanitary Grocery Co., which safeguarded the right to boycotts based on discriminatory hiring practices.

While on the Court Roberts chaired two commissions, both named after him. The first, in 1942, studied America’s missteps before and during the attack on Pearl Harbor; and the second, in 1943, co-ordinated Allied efforts to preserve works of art and archival materials in war zones.

Roberts was disturbed by the result-oriented liberalism of the Court, and relations grew strained between him and his fellow justices. He resigned in July 1945 and served as Dean of UPenn Law School from 1948 to 1951. He died in the spring of 1955 at his farm in Chester County, Penn., after being ill for four months.

Harold Hitz Burton (1888-1964) was put on the Court on September 22, 1945, by Harry S Truman. He was the last sitting member of Congress to be appointed to the Supreme Court.

Harold Hitz Burton was born in Jamaica Plain, a suburb of Boston; his father, a dean at MIT, had went with Robert Peary on expeditions to the North Pole. Harold went to Bowdoin College in Maine and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1912. He worked as an attorney for power companies in Salt Lake City and Boise until World War I, when he saw action on the Western front as an infantry captain, earning the Belgian Croix de Guerre. Returning home, he practiced law in Cleveland and served as Mayor of Cleveland from 1936 to 1940. He was elected to the Senate in 1940 and became good friends with fellow Senator Harry Truman.

Burton’s style as a judge was dispassionate and even-handed. It was also uneventful. His most important contribution was his help in ensuring a unanimous verdict in Brown v. Board of Education.

Later in life Burton suffered from Parkinson’s Disease and he retired in October 1958. He died of kidney failure in DC in the fall of 1964.

Ike Eisenhower replaced Burton with Potter Stewart (1915-1985), who became a justice on October 14, 1958.

Potter Stewart was born while his parents were on vacation near Lansing, Michigan; he grew up in Cincinnati. He went to Yale (and was in the Skull and Crossbones) and graduated in 1937, then went to Yale Law School (with Gerald Ford and Byron White) and graduated in 1941. He served on oil tankers in the Naval Reserve in World War II and then practiced law and sat on the city council in Cincinnati. He was appointed to the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in 1954 to replace the late Judge Xenophon Hicks, and served until 1958.

Stewart sat firmly between extremes of ideology. He dissented on Griswold v. Connecticut based on his denial of a constitutional right to privacy, but called the contraceptive ban at the heart of the case “an uncommonly silly law”. He was in the majority for Furman v. Georgia, Gregg v. Georgia, and Roe v. Wade, but was the lone dissenter in the 1967 case of In re Gault, which extended Miranda rights to minors.

But Potter Stewart is best known far and wide for a line in his concurring opinion in the 1964 case of Jacobellis v. Ohio. At issue was whether a state government could ban the showing of a film it deemed obscene. Stewart found that the Constitution protected all forms of obscenity short of “hardcore pornography”. In trying to define hardcore pornography, he wrote, “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.” Forever thereafter, “I know it when I see it” became synonymous with Potter Stewart and hardcore pornography. Stewart later admitted the opinion was judicially untenable, and recanted it in Miller v. California in 1973.

Potter Stewart retired in June 1981 to spend time with his grandchildren while he still had his health. He appeared in some PBS specials about the Constitution with CBS News veteran Fred Friendly, and Stewart died of a stroke while on vacation in New Hampshire in December 1985. soon thereafter, Watergate muckraker Bob Woodward revealed Stewart had been the primary source for The Brethren, Woodward’s book looking behind the scenes of the early Burger Court.

Sandra Day O’Connor (1930-present), the first female justice of the Supreme Court, was put there by Ronald Reagan on September 21, 1981. She served nearly 25 years, making her the longest-serving female justice (and 26th overall).

Sandra Day was born in El Paso and grew up on a cattle ranch in Arizona. She graduated from Stanford in 1950 and married John Jay O’Connor III, a lawyer, in December 1952, 6 months before graduating from Stanford Law School. She stayed in California and was an unpaid deputy county attorney in San Mateo (after over 40firms refused to hire her because she was a woman) before returning to Arizona to be the state Assistant Attorney-General from 1965 to 1969. She served in the state senate from 1969 to 1975 and was a judge of the Maricopa County (which includes Phoenix) Superior Court from 1975 to 1979 before being elevated to the Arizona State Court of Appeals.

Day O’Connor was a conservative justice, although a rightward shift in the Court made her the swing vote in the later years of her tenure (for example, she was the deciding vote in Bush v. Gore). She was furthest away, ideologically, from Clarence Thomas, and almost never joined to his opinions. she considered cases narrowly and aimed to avoid expanding law by herself, but joined the majority and wrote a concurring opinion condoning homosexual freedoms in Lawrence v. Texas.

Sandra Day O’Connor wrote a letter to the President on July 1, 2005, announcing her intent to resign, which she did on January 31, 2006. She was made the ceremonial Chancellor of the College of William and Mary from 2005 to 2012. She is currently a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation and still hears cases as a substitute federal judge. Her husband died of Alzheimer’s in 2009.

George W. Bush’s initial replacement for Sandra Day O’Connor was John Roberts, but after William Rehnquist died it was changed so that Roberts would succeed Rehnquist as Chief Justice instead. Bush then put forward Harriet Miers, a Texan lawyer serving as White House Counsel;, her lack of qualifications caused such a stir that her candidacy was withdrawn on October 27, 2005. Then Samuel Alito (1950-present) was nominated on November 10, confirmed and sworn in on January 31, 2006.

Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and raised in its suburbs. He was in the Army ROTC while at Princeton , studied for a year in Italy, and upon graduating in 1972 was a commissioned officer in the US Army Signal Corps and placed in the Army Reserve. He was on active duty for the last four months of 1975 after he graduated from Yale Law School, and was honourably discharged in 1980 as a captain. He was Assistant US Attorney for New Jersey from 1977 to 1981, Assistant to the Solicitor-General from 1981 to 1985, and Deputy Assistant to the Attorney-General from 1985 to 1987, then was US Attorney for New Jersey from 1987 to 1990 before being appointed to the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in 1990, serving until 2005. Concurrently, he was an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University Law School in Newark from 1999 to 2004.

Alito is a reliably libertarian conservative justice and frequently sides with Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. He wrote a concurrence in the 2007 case of Morse v. Frederick in which he agreed that speech advocating drug use could be banned in public schools, he said that any such ban could not interfere with political free speech, such as debate on the legalization of medical marijuana. He was the sole dissenting vote in the 2011 case of Snyder v. Phelps, in which he believed that protests at funerals infringed on the rights of the grieving and could be subjected to prohibitions. He joined the majority in 2013’s Shelby County v. Holder in striking down section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act for relying on data for determining racial prejudice that had been out of date for over 40 years, and dissented in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry.

Supreme Court Season, Part 9

John Blair, Samuel Chase, Gabriel Duvall, Philip Barbour, Peter V. Daniel, Dr. Samuel Miller, Henry Billings Brown, William Moody, Joseph Lamar, Louis Brandeis, William O. Douglas, John Paul Stevens, Elena Kagan

John Blair, Samuel Chase, Gabriel Duvall, Philip Barbour, Peter V. Daniel, Dr. Samuel Miller, Henry Billings Brown, William Moody, Joseph Lamar, Louis Brandeis, William O. Douglas, John Paul Stevens, Elena Kagan

The most junior member of the cohort of justices inaugurated on September 26, 1789 was John Blair (1732-1800).

John Blair, Jr. was born in Williamsburg, colonial Virginia (now Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia) and went to the College of William and Mary before leaving for England and studying law at the Middle Temple, then returned to Virginia to practice law and serve in the House of Burgesses, where he opposed Patrick Henry’s radical calls for revolt but still worked for the Patriots by joining the Virginia constitutional convention in 1776, and later served in various state judgeships starting in 1778. Blair was also one of the Virginia delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

As per most early judges, Blair did little on the Court, resigning in October 1795 and dying on August 31, 1800.

Blair was replaced by Samuel Chase (1741-1811) on January 27, 1796, the last justice appointed by George Washington. He served until he died 15 years later. Chase is also the only US Supreme Court justice to have been impeached.

Samuel Chase was born in southwestern Maryland, moved to Annapolis when he turned 18 and passed the Maryland bar in 1761. (His fellow Annapolis lawyers gave him the nickname “Old Bacon Face”.) He served in the Maryland General Assembly from 1764 to 1784, where he garnered a reputation for being brash and temperamental. He represented Maryland at the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence. He moved to Baltimore in 1786 and became chief judge of the Baltimore District Criminal Court in 1788 and Chief Justice of the Maryland General Court in 1791, holding both posts until 1796.

Chase was an ardent Federalist on the bench, and after criticizing the government’s judicial policy in 1803, Thomas Jefferson convinced Rep. J. Hopper Nicholson to impeach Chase. The House indicted Chase with 8 counts of various misdemeanours on circuit duty in late 1804. The Senate voted to acquit Chase of all charges on March 1, 1805, thus affirming the independence of the judiciary in America.

Old Bacon Face died of a heart attack in June 1811. He was buried in Baltimore, in the same cemetery as Francis Scott Key.

On November 23, 1811, James Madison appointed Gabriel Duvall (1752-1844) to replace Chase. Legal scholars contend that Duvall has a serious claim to the title of being the most useless judge in Supreme Court history.

Gabriel Duvall was born in southeastern Maryland and passed the bar in 1778.He worked as a clerk of the state militia and of the Maryland House of Delegates, of which he was a member from 1787 to 1794. he was a US Congressman from 1794 to 1796, Chief Justice of the Maryland General Court from 1796 to 1802, and Comptroller of the U.S. Treasury from 1802 to 1811.

In the 23 years Duvall sat on the bench he wrote only 18 opinions: 15 majority, 2 concurring, and one dissent, in cases mostly concerning financial matters or Maryland state law. By the end of his career he had become feeble and deaf, clinging to his post for fear of who might follow him. He retired in January 1835 and died 9 years later at his home in Glenn Dale, Maryland.

Philip Barbour (1783-1841) replaced Duvall on March 15, 1836, and served until his death in February of 1841. His brother, James Barbour, was Secretary of War under John Quincy Adams.

Philip Pendleton Barbour was born in Virginia and went to William and Mary. He was a member of the Virginia assembly from 1812 to 1814 and a Congressman from 1814 to 1825 and again from 1827 to 1830; he was Speaker of the House from 1821 to 1823. In 1830 he was appointed to the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, serving to 1836.

Barbour was firmly a Jacksonian Democrat, but did not do much on the Court. He died in 1841 of a heart attack in the middle of the Amistad Case. A county in West Virginia was named after him.

Peter V. Daniel (1784-1860) was appointed by Martin van Buren on March 3, 1841, and served until his death.

Peter Vivian Daniel was born in northern Virginia and went to Princeton for a year before passing the Virginia bar in 1808. He was a member of the Virginia assembly from 1809 to 1812 and Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia from 1818 to 1836. He was appointed to Philip Barbour’s vacated seat on the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in 1836.

Daniel authored only one important opinion in his career, 1848’s West River Bridge Co. v. Dix, which established that it was not unconstitutional for a government to violate a grant or contract in the course of exercising its powers of eminent domain. Daniel died in Richmond in March 1860.

President James “The Old Public Functionary” Buchanan attempted to fill the seat with his attorney-general, Jeremiah S. Black, but the Senate rejected him in 1861. The seat stayed vacant until July 16, 1862, when president Abraham Lincoln appointed Dr. Samuel Miller (1816-1890) to the Supreme Court. He served until his death.

Samuel Freeman Miller was born in Richmond, Kentucky, and got a medical degree from Transylvania University in Lexington. He passed the bar in 1847 after studying law in his spare time. Miller was an abolitionist, so he moved to the free state of Iowa, settling in Keokuk. He became an incredibly well-respected member of the legal community and of the Republican Party – so much so that the Senate confirmed his appointment to the Supreme Court within half an hour of receiving it.

On the Court, Miller backed the policies of the Lincoln administration. He was in the majority on 1876’s United States v. Cruikshank, which held the government was powerless to stop private citizens from violating the constitutional rights of others, but wrote the opinion on 1884’s Ex parte Yarborough, which ruled the government had the power to protect blacks from the KKK. Overall, Miller was extremely productive on the Court, writing twice as many opinions as any of his benchmates. The legal establishment clamoured for his appointment as Chief Justice in 1873, but it went to Morrison Waite instead.

Miller also sat on the commission to determine the victor of the 1876 presidential election, voting for Rutherford Hayes. Miller died in DC in October 1890 and was buried in Keokuk.

Henry Billings Brown (1836-1913) was appointed to the Supreme Court by Benjamin Harrison on29 December 1890, and sat until May 1906. He was responsible for one of the worst decisions in Supreme Court history by writing the majority opinion for Plessy v. Ferguson.

Henry Billings Brown was born in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts and graduated from Yale in 1856. He then moved to Detroit and became an expert on Great Lakes shipping law, occasionally serving as a county judge and as a deputy US Marshall. He hired someone to take his place in the Union Army during the Civil War, and became financially independent after the death of his father-in-law, a rich lumber merchant. He was appointed to a seat on the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in 1875, serving until 1890. He also taught admiralty law at the University of Michigan Law school and medical law at Detroit Medical College, and wrote a textbook on admiralty law for Georgetown University.

Besides his majority opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown also concurred in Lochner v. New York, but also wrote for the Court in 1898’s Holden v. Hardy, which upheld a Utah law limiting the work days of miners. He was largely against government intervention in business, but supported federal income tax.

Brown went mostly blind in his old age and retired at the age of 70. He died of heart failure in Bronxville, N.Y.

William Moody (1853-1917) was appointed by Teddy Roosevelt to replace Brown on December 12, 1906, and sat for a month short of four years.

William Henry Moody was born in Newbury, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard in 1876, where he was friends and classmates with Teddy Roosevelt. He was appointed US Attorney for Eastern Massachusetts in 1890 and was the junior prosecutor in the Lizzie Borden murder case. He was elected to Congress from 1895 to 1902, then served as Secretary of the Navy from 1902 to 1904 and Attorney-General from 1904 to 1906.

In his brief time on the Court, Moody wrote 67 opinions, including the majority opinion in 1908’s Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. v. Mottley, which limited federal civil judicial jurisdiction to cases where the plaintiff’s cause of action is based on federal law.

In 1908 Moody was struck by rheumatism, which crippled him so much that he left the Supreme Court to recuperate on May 7, 1909, and never returned. He resigned in November 1910 after receiving a special pension from Congress and died at Haverhill, Mass., in July 1917. A Navy destroyer in World War I, the USS Moody, was named after him.

William Howard Taft chose Joseph Lamar (1857-1916) to succeed Moody on December 12, 1910, and he served for about five years.

Joseph Rucker Lamar was born in northern Georgia and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1877, then studied law at Washington and Lee before setting up a law practice in Augusta, Ga. He was a member of the Georgia state assembly from 1886 to 1889 and served on the Georgia Supreme Court from 1901 to 1905.

Lamar did not do much in his time on the Court, but he did represent America at the ABC Powers Conference of 1914, averting the US from declaring war on Mexico over some border incidents during the Mexican Revolution. He received a formal Thanks from Congress for his work there.

Lamar’s work schedule played havoc with his health and he died on January 2, 1916. He was buried in Augusta.

Louis Brandeis (1856-1941), the first Jew to serve on the Supreme Court, and arguably the first liberal Justice in the modern sense of the word, was appointed by Woodrow Wilson on June 1, 1916, and served for almost 23 years, until February 13, 1939.

Louis Dembitz Brandeis was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Bohemian immigrant parents. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1877 with the highest GPA in the school’s history (a record that stood for over 80 years thereafter). The next year he took a job at a law firm in St. Louis, but seven months later returned to Boston to start his own law practice. He became so successful that Melville Fuller, the Chief Justice, recommended Brandeis to a friend as “the best attorney he knew of in the Eastern U.S.” Increasingly, Brandeis turned to prosecuting monopolies and big business and defending workers’ rights pro bono, to the point he was known as “the People’s Lawyer.” He developed an interest in Zionism in the early 1900s and encouraged Jewish settlement in Palestine. He was active in the Progressive Party and stood behind the liberal tendencies of the Wilson administration, leading to his appointment to the Supreme Court.

Brandeis quickly established himself as the most liberal member of the Court. He opposed the pro-business hegemony of the Lochner Era; in this, he was allied with Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who opposed overturning legislative acts protecting workers. Brandeis later allied with Harlan Stone and Benjamin Cardozo as “the Three Musketeers” to defend FDR’s New Deal legislation before the Court. Brandeis was an early proponents to the right to privacy, and was largely in favour of unregulated free speech, with the exception of speech with a “captive audience”, such as on billboards, a distinction he made in writing the majority opinion for 1932’s Packer Corporation v. Utah.

Brandeis’s poor eyesight worsened in his old age and retired in February 1939, then died of a heart attack in October 1941. Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass., is named after him, as is the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville; also, a suburb of the Israeli city of Hadera is named Kfar Brandeis in his honour.

William O. Douglas (1898-1980) took his seat on the Supreme Court on April 12, 1939. He held it for nearly 37 years, the longest term of service in Supreme Court history. He also holds the Court record for written opinions (1,164), dissenting opinions (484), marriages (4) and divorces (3).

William Orville Douglas was born in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, the son of a Presbyterian minister from Nova Scotia. The family later settled in Washington state, and Douglas got a scholarship to Whitman College in Walla Walla, working his way through school as a waiter, janitor, and cherry picker. He taught in high schools for 2 years after graduating to save up for law school, graduating 5th in his class from Columbia Law School in 1925. He got a job with a rich New York firm, but quit soon after and taught law at Columbia, and later Yale, before leaving to work for the Securities and Exchange Commission, becoming Chairman of the SEC in 1937 and a close friend to FDR.

“Wild Bill” Douglas’s struggle-ridden upbringing had shaped him into one of the staunchest defenders of the poor and disenfranchised the Supreme Court had ever seen. He was openly partisan on the Court, saying, “The Constitution is not neutral.” He clashed with Felix Frankfurter over matters of judicial restraint and rarely used text or precedent in his short, pithy opinions, relying instead on philosophy and contemporary societal observations. He was suspicious of the “tyranny of the majority” and wrote the Court’s opinion in Griswold v. Connecticut, establishing a Constitutional right to privacy, a point with which he split with his longtime ally, Hugo Black. In 1953 he granted a stay of execution to the spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg; Chief Justice Vinson overturned the stay, and Douglas briefly faced congressional impeachment proceedings that ultimately went nowhere. He was an environmentalist; his dissent in 1972’s Sierra Club v. Morton argued that certain inanimate objects, like trees, should have a certain sort of legal standing before the Court. (Douglas sat on the Board of Directors for the Sierra Club from 1960 to 1962, and wrote a glowing review of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring for the Book-of-the-Month Club.) Douglas wrote more than two dozen books in his lifetime (more than any other justice), mostly about law, nature, and philosophy, as well as a few autobiographies.

By the late 1960s most of Douglas’s salary had been taken up by his divorces and he had to take work on the side, including for a possibly illicit group called the Parvin Foundation, which had in its crosshairs House minority leader Rep. Gerald Ford. Abe Fortas was also tangled up in the Parvin Foundation; his personal justification for resigning in 1969 was to protect Douglas from investigation. Nevertheless, in April 1970 Rep. Ford moved to start impeachment hearings against Douglas that were eventually stopped when no evidence of wrongdoing was found.

On New Year’s Eve 1974 Douglas suffered a crippling stroke while on vacation in the Bahamas, but attempted to return to work despite being severely disabled. He finally retired at the urging of his old friend Abe Fortas on November 12, 1975, after 36 years and 209 days on the bench. Even then, Douglas assumed he had taken senior status and continued to attempt to work, only stopping after all nine justices signed a formal letter asking him to stop when he tried to submit an opinion in the case of Gregg v. Georgia in 1976. Douglas died on January 19, 1980, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, despite there being no proof he ever served in the military.

Douglas’s old nemesis, President Gerald Ford, appointed as his successor John Paul Stevens (1920-present), who took office on December 19, 1975. When he retired in 2010 at the age of 90, he became the 2nd-oldest and 3rd-longest serving justice in Supreme Court history.

John Paul Stevens was born in Chicago to a rich family; his father owned the largest hotel in Chicago (it is still standing, and is now the Chicago Hilton). As a boy he met Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh, and was at Wrigley Field to see Babe Ruth hit his famous “called shot” in the 1932 World Series. He earned a BA in English from the University of Chicago in 1941 and was working on his master’s when he left to join the Navy in world War II; working as a codebreaker, he was awarded a Bronze Star for his help in the assassination of Admiral Yamamoto in 1943. After the war he went to Northwestern Law School, graduating magna cum laude in 1947 with the highest GPA in the school’s history. He then served as a clerk to justice Wiley Rutledge in 1947, then practiced law in Chicago from 1948 to 1970, when he was appointed to the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, serving until 1975.

Stevens was a diligent, if uninspiring, justice. He often wrote dissenting opinions and allowed his beliefs to change with experience; for example, where he initially opposed affirmative action, he grew to support it in his later years. From the late 1980s onward he was generally considered a liberal judge. Justice Stevens retired on June 29, 2010, and is enjoying a quiet retirement.

Elena Kagan (1960-present), currently the most junior of all Supreme Court justices, was appointed by Barack Obama on August 7, 2010.

Elena Kagan was born on the Upper West Side of New York to a family of middle-class Conservative Jews. She dressed as a judge for her high school yearbook photo. She went to Princeton, got a scholarship to Oxford, and earned a JD from Harvard Law School in 1986. She clerked for Thurgood Marshall (who called her “Shorty”) and went into private practice in DC. She was a professor at the University of Chicago Law School from 1991 to 1999, when she was nominated to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit; her nomination lapsed, and so Kagan returned to teaching, joining the faculty of Harvard Law School in 1999 and becoming Dean in 2003, where she won favour with her students by creating a more student-friendly environment. Barack Obama appointed her as the first female Solicitor-General in 2009, and she argued the Government’s position before the Supreme Court in the 2010 case of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission.

As Kagan has no previous judicial experience, she remains a largely untested quantity. The legal analyst Jeffery Rosen has praised her as “unusually eloquent”, and she’s more or less considered a safe liberal seat on the Court, having so far voted to uphold Obamacare and gay marriage.