Andrew T. Judson

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Andrew Thompson Judson (November 29, 1784 – March 17, 1853) was a U.S. Representative from Connecticut and later a United States federal judge for the District of Connecticut.


Andrew Thompson Judson was born in Eastford, Connecticut, where his father, also named Andrew, was first pastor of the third church in Ashford. He and Judson's mother provided most of his initial education. Judson then read law with an established firm and was admitted to the bar in 1806.

He moved to Montpelier, Vermont, where he began the practice of law. He returned to Connecticut and settled in Canterbury in 1809, where he engaged in private practice until 1819.

Judson was elected as a Connecticut state representative in 1816. In 1818, he was one of the most active members of the Toleration Party, which had for its object the separation of church and state. After a severe struggle the Tolerationists, aided by the Democrats, succeeded in setting aside the charter that was granted by Charles II. They adopted a new constitution which has been the fundamental law of Connecticut since that time.

Judson served as state's attorney for Windham County 1819 to 1833. He was elected again to the Connecticut House of Representatives, serving 1822 to 1825, and to the Connecticut Senate, serving from 1830 to 1832.

Judson was elected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-fourth Congress and served from March 4, 1835, until July 4, 1836. He resigned to take a federal judicial appointment.

On June 28, 1836, Judson was nominated by President Andrew Jackson to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut vacated by William Bristol. Judson was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 4, 1836, and received his commission the same day. As District Court Judge, Judson presided over the famous case The United States v. the Amistad in 1840. Given his views on race and slavery, Judson surprised many observers by ruling in favor of the captured Africans and ordering that they be freed and safely returned to their homes in Africa. The administration of President Martin Van Buren appealed Judson's ruling to the United States Supreme Court which upheld Judson's decision.[1]

Judson served until his death in Canterbury, Connecticut, March 17, 1853. He was interred in Hyde Cemetery.

On racial equality[edit]

In response to New York abolitionist Samuel J. May, concerning the highly controversial integrated school established by Prudence Crandall, Judson said,

The colored people can never rise from their menial condition in our country; they ought not to be permitted to rise here. They are an inferior race of beings, and never call or ought to be recognized as the equals of the whites.[2]



U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ebenezer Jackson, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Orrin Holt
Legal offices
Preceded by
William Bristol
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
Succeeded by
Charles A. Ingersoll