Henry Baldwin (judge)
|Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court|
January 6, 1830 – April 21, 1844
|Nominated by||Andrew Jackson|
|Preceded by||Bushrod Washington|
|Succeeded by||Robert Cooper Grier|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 14th district
March 4, 1817 – May 8, 1822
|Preceded by||John Woods|
|Succeeded by||Walter Forward|
January 14, 1780|
New Haven, Connecticut
|Died||April 21, 1844
Descended from an aristocratic British family dating back to the seventeenth century, Baldwin was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Michael Baldwin and Theodora Walcott. He is the half-brother of Abraham Baldwin. He attended Hopkins School, and received a B.A at age 17 from Yale College in 1797. He also attended Litchfield Law School and read law in 1798. Baldwin then moved to Pittsburgh and established a successful law practice. He invested in iron furnaces north of the city, which sparked a move to Crawford County, Pennsylvania, of which he was elected the newly formed jurisdiction's first district attorney and served from 1799 to 1801. He was also the publisher of The Tree of Liberty, a Republican newspaper.
After the death of his first wife, Marana Norton, Baldwin married Sally Ellicott. Baldwin was elected to the United States Congress as a member of the Democratic-Republican Party in 1816, representing Pennsylvania's 14th congressional district; he was reelected twice, but he resigned in May 1822 due to poor health. In the House, he was a prominent advocate of protective tariffs. He strongly supported the election of Andrew Jackson in the election of 1828. On January 4, 1830, some six weeks after the death of Bushrod Washington, Jackson nominated Baldwin to the Supreme Court. Baldwin was confirmed by the United States Senate on January 6, 1830, and received his commission the same day.
Baldwin considered resigning in 1831. In a letter to President Jackson, he complained about the Court’s extension of its powers. Some historians believe that Baldwin suffered from mental illness during this period. However, he continued to serve on the court until his death in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Justice Baldwin was personally involved in cases deciding the issue of slavery. In the case of Johnson v. Tompkins, 13 F. Cas. 840 (C.C.E.D. Pa. 1833), he instructed the jury that although slavery's existence "is abhorrent to all our ideas of natural right and justice," the jury must respect the legal status of slavery. He was the sole dissenter in the case United States v. The Amistad, in which Associate Justice Joseph Story delivered the Court's decision to free the 36 kidnapped African adults and children who were on board the schooner, La Amistad. In Groves v. Slaughter, 40 U.S. (15 Pet.) 449 (1841), Justice Baldwin emphatically expressed his opinion that, as a matter of constitutional law, slaves are property, not persons.
In another federal case, Justice Baldwin interpreted the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Constitution. That case was Magill v. Brown, 16 Fed. Cas. 408 (C.C.E.D. Pa. 1833), in which Justice Baldwin stated: "We must take it therefore as a grant by the people of the state in convention, to the citizens of all the other states of the Union, of the privileges and immunities of the citizens of this state." This eventually became the view accepted by the Supreme Court, and remains so. He also interpreted the Clause that way, in dictum, when speaking for the Court in Rhode Island v. Massachusetts, 37 U.S. (12 Pet.) 657, 751 (1838) (each State "by the Constitution has agreed that those of any other state shall enjoy rights, privileges, and immunities in each, as its own do").
Justice Baldwin was a friend and admirer of Chief Justice John Marshall, and wrote of Marshall that "no commentator ever followed the text more faithfully, or ever made a commentary more accordant with its strict intention and language." Baldwin was at Marshall's bedside when the old Chief Justice died in 1835.
In 1837, Justice Baldwin authored a treatise titled A General View of the Origin and Nature of the Constitution and Government of the United States: Deduced from the Political History and Condition of the Colonies and States. Baldwin opposed the two prevailing schools of Constitutional interpretation: the strict constructionists and the school of liberal interpretation. Likewise, his views followed a middle course between the extremes of states' rights on the one hand, and nationalism on the other hand.
Death and legacy
Justice Baldwin suffered from paralysis in later years and died a pauper, aged 64. Historian William J. Novak of the University of Chicago has written that, "Baldwin’s jurisprudence has been treated rather shabbily by historians."
Justice Baldwin's remains were initially interred at Oak Hill Cemetery (Washington, D.C.). His remains were later disinterred and moved to Greendale Cemetery, Meadville, Pennsylvania. He is the namesake of Baldwin, Pennsylvania.
- Baldwin, Henry (1837). A General View Of The Origin And Nature Of The Constitution And Government Of The United States, Deduced From The Political History And Condition Of The Colonies And States, From 1774 Until 1788. ISBN 1-4460-6139-6.
- "Federal Judicial Center: Henry Baldwin". 2009-12-09. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
- Baldwin, Henry (1837). A General View of the Origin and Nature of the Constitution and Government of the United States: Deduced from the Political History and Condition of the Colonies and States, from 1774 Until 1788. J. C. Clark.
- Novak, William J. (1996). The People's Welfare: Law and Regulation in Nineteenth-century America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-4611-2.
- Christensen, George A. (1983) Here Lies the Supreme Court: Gravesites of the Justices, Yearbook at the Wayback Machine (archived September 3, 2005) Supreme Court Historical Society at Internet Archive.
- Henry Baldwin memorial at Find a Grave.
- Ackerman, Jan (May 10, 1984). "Town names carry bit of history". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 1. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
- Abraham, Henry J. (1992). Justices and Presidents: A Political History of Appointments to the Supreme Court (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-506557-3.
- Cushman, Clare (2001). The Supreme Court Justices: Illustrated Biographies, 1789–1995 (2nd ed.). (Supreme Court Historical Society, Congressional Quarterly Books). ISBN 1-56802-126-7.
- Frank, John P. (1995). Friedman, Leon; Israel, Fred L., eds. The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions. Chelsea House Publishers. ISBN 0-7910-1377-4.
- Huebner, Timothy S.; Renstrom, Peter; Hall, Kermit L., coeditor. (2003) The Taney Court, Justice Rulings and Legacy. City: ABC-Clio Inc.ISBN 1576073688.
- Lewis, Walker (1965). Without Fear or Favor: A Biography of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
- Martin, Fenton S.; Goehlert, Robert U. (1990). The U.S. Supreme Court: A Bibliography. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Books. ISBN 0-87187-554-3.
- Seddig, Robert G.; Hall, Kermit L., ed. (1992). "Henry Baldwin", The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505835-6.
- Urofsky, Melvin I. (1994). The Supreme Court Justices: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: Garland Publishing. p. 590. ISBN 0-8153-1176-1.
- White, G. Edward. The Marshall Court & Cultural Change, 1815-35. Published in an abridged edition, 1991.
- Henry Baldwin at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
- Henry Baldwin at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- The Political Graveyard
- Legal Encyclopedia
- Ariens, Michael, Henry Baldwin biography
- Baldwin Reynolds House Museum, Crawford County Historical Society
- Henry Baldwin memorial at Find a Grave
- Fox, John, Capitalism and Conflict, Biographies of the Robes, Henry Baldwin. Public Broadcasting Service
- Oyez, Official Supreme Court media, Henry Baldwin
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 14th congressional district
|Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
January 6, 1830 – April 21, 1844
Robert Cooper Grier