February 3, 1862 - August 24, 1946

Todd County, Kentucky

Jurist, US Attorney General and US Supreme Court Associate Justice. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as US Attorney General from March 1913 until August 1914 and as Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court from August 1914 until January 1941. The son of a doctor, he attended the Green River Academy in Elkton, Kentucky and graduated in 1882 with a Bachelor's Degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He then attended the University of Virginia School of Law at Charlottesville, Virginia and graduated with a law degree in 1884. He established a law practice in Nashville and served for three years as an Adjunct professor of Commercial Law, Insurance, and Corporations at Vanderbilt University Law School, and ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1896. In 1903 he became Assistant US Attorney General, resigning in 1907 to practice law in New York City, New York. In March 1913 US President Woodrow Wilson appointed him to the position of US Attorney General, serving until August 1914, when President Wilson appointed him to the seat on the US Supreme Court vacated by the death of Associate Justice Horace Harmon Lurton and he was confirmed by the US Senate. During his tenure, he authored 506 decisions. He was adamantly opposed to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal legislation and was labeled one of the "Four Horsemen" on the High Court, along with Justices George Sutherland, Willis Van Devanter, and Pierce Butler. He supported civil liberties and wrote two early decisions applying the 14th Amendment, in Meyer v. Nebraska (1923) and Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925). He was well known for his rude behavior, his cantankerousness and for his bigoted views towards Jews, African-Americans, and women. He refused to speak to or associate with Louis Brandeis, the first Jew on the High Court, or to Benjamin N. Cardozo and Felix Frankfurter, Jews who were appointed during Franklin Roosevelt's presidency. On the other hand, he would frequently entertain at his apartment or a commercial establishment, and was noted for his hospitality. Having achieved senior status in January 1941, he resigned from his seat and was replaced by James F. Byrnes. He died at the age of 84.