List of federal judges appointed by John Adams

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President John Adams saw most of his appointments undone when the circuit courts to which they were appointed were abolished.
It is without question that the most significant impact John Adams had on the judiciary was the appointment of Chief Justice John Marshall.
William Cranch was later elevated by Thomas Jefferson to Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Circuit, and was one of the longest-serving federal judges in U.S. history.
Elijah Paine was one of two District Court judges appointed by Adams whose service surpassed the forty year mark.

Following is a list of federal judges appointed by John Adams.[1] In total, John Adams appointed 23 United States federal judges during his tenure (1797-1801) as President of the United States. Of these, three were appointments to the Supreme Court of the United States, sixteen were to the United States circuit courts, and four to the United States district courts. Fourteen of the sixteen circuit court judges appointed by Adams were to positions created at the end of his tenure in office, in the Judiciary Act of 1801, 2 Stat. 89, which became known as the Midnight Judges Act. All of these offices were abolished by the repeal of this Act on July 1, 1802, by 2 Stat. 132. The remaining two were to judgeships for the District of Columbia, authorized under a different Act of Congress, not the Judiciary Act.

Nonetheless, Adams made an indelible impact on the federal judiciary with the appointment of John Marshall as Chief Justice to succeed Oliver Ellsworth, who had retired due to ill health. Adams himself called this appointment "the proudest act of my life."[2]

United States Supreme Court Justices[edit]

Justice Seat State Began active
service
Ended active
service
Marshall, JohnJohn Marshall Chief Justice Virginia January 31, 1801 July 6, 1835
Moore, AlfredAlfred Moore Seat 5 North Carolina December 10, 1799 January 26, 1804
Washington, BushrodBushrod Washington Seat 1 Virginia September 29, 1798[Note 1] November 26, 1829

Also appointed, but declined: John Jay (Chief Justice).

Circuit courts[edit]

Judge Circuit Began active
service
Ended active
service
Bassett, RichardRichard Bassett Third February 20, 1801 July 1, 1802
Benson, EgbertEgbert Benson Second February 20, 1801 July 1, 1802
Bourne, BenjaminBenjamin Bourne First February 20, 1801 July 1, 1802
Clay, Jr., JosephJoseph Clay, Jr. Fifth February 24, 1801 July 1, 1802
Cranch, WilliamWilliam Cranch D.C. March 3, 1801 February 24, 1806[Note 2]
Griffith, WilliamWilliam Griffith Third February 20, 1801 July 1, 1802
Hitchcock, SamuelSamuel Hitchcock Second February 20, 1801 July 1, 1802
Key, Philip BartonPhilip Barton Key Fourth February 20, 1801 July 1, 1802
Lowell, JohnJohn Lowell First February 20, 1801 May 6, 1802
Magill, CharlesCharles Magill Fourth March 3, 1801 July 1, 1802
Marshall, James MarkhamJames Markham Marshall D.C. March 3, 1801 November 16, 1803
McClung, WilliamWilliam McClung Sixth February 24, 1801 July 1, 1802
Smith, JeremiahJeremiah Smith First February 20, 1801 July 1, 1802
Taylor, George KeithGeorge Keith Taylor Fourth February 20, 1801 July 1, 1802
Tilghman, WilliamWilliam Tilghman Third March 3, 1801 March 8, 1802
Wolcott, Jr., OliverOliver Wolcott, Jr. Second February 20, 1801 July 1, 1802

Also appointed, but declined: Thomas Bee (5th circuit), Jared Ingersoll (3rd circuit), Thomas Johnson (D.C. circuit), Charles Lee (4th circuit), and John Sitgreaves (5th circuit).

District courts[edit]

Judge Court
[Note 3]
Began active
service
Ended active
service
Davis, JohnJohn Davis D. Mass. February 20, 1801 July 10, 1841
Hobart, John SlossJohn Sloss Hobart D.N.Y. April 12, 1798 February 4, 1805
Paine, ElijahElijah Paine D. Vt. March 3, 1801 April 1, 1842
Winchester, JamesJames Winchester D. Md. October 31, 1799[Note 4] April 5, 1806

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 19, 1798, confirmed by the United States Senate on December 20, 1798, and received commission on December 20, 1798.
  2. ^ Elevated to Chief Judges by Thomas Jefferson on February 24, 1806; thereafter served until September 1, 1855. Because of the unique structure of the United States Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, Thomas Jefferson's elevation of William Cranch to chief judge of the Court is considered a separate appointment.
  3. ^ See List of United States district and territorial courts
  4. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 8, 1799, confirmed by the United States Senate on December 10, 1799, and received commission on December 10, 1799.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, passim.
  2. ^ Unger, Harlow Giles (November 16, 2014). "Why Naming John Marshall Chief Justice Was John Adams's "Greatest Gift" to the Nation". History News Network. Retrieved February 8, 2017. 

Sources[edit]