Bushrod Washington

Bushrod Washington

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Bushrod Washington was a U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 associate justice and the nephew of George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

.

Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia
Westmoreland County, Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 16,718 people, 6,846 households, and 4,689 families residing in the county. The population density was . There were 9,286 housing units at an average density of...

, and was the son of John Augustine Washington
John Augustine Washington
John Augustine Washington was a member of the fifth Virginia Convention and a founding member of the Mississippi Land Company. During the American Revolution he was a member of Westmoreland County's...

, brother of the first president. Bushrod attended Delamere, an academy administered by the Rev. Bartholomew Booth
Bartholomew Booth
Bartholomew Booth was a pioneer in American education. Oxford-educated, Booth was consecrated as a priest in the Church of England before becoming a headmaster. Booth opened academies in Liverpool then in Lancashire and Essex...

 and attended the Chapel in the Woods
Saint John's Church (Hagerstown, Maryland)
St. John's Church, or St. John's Episcopal Church, founded in 1786, is an historic Episcopal church located at 101 South Prospect Street in the South Prospect Street Historic District of Hagerstown, Maryland...

. He graduated from the College of William and Mary
College of William and Mary
The College of William & Mary in Virginia is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia, United States...

, where he was one of the first members of Phi Beta Kappa. His uncle sponsored Bushrod's legal studies with fellow Founder James Wilson
James Wilson
James Wilson was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence. Wilson was elected twice to the Continental Congress, and was a major force in drafting the United States Constitution...

. Bushrod lived in Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

 at William Byrd III
William Byrd III
William Byrd III was the son of William Byrd II and the grandson of William Byrd I. He inherited his family's land in Virginia and continued their planter prestige as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses.He chose to fight in the French and Indian War rather than spend much time in Richmond...

's estate, Belvidere, until his appointment to to the Supreme Court in 1798. He inherited Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon (plantation)
Mount Vernon, located near Alexandria, Virginia, was the plantation home of the first President of the United States, George Washington. The mansion is built of wood in neoclassical Georgian architectural style, and the estate is located on the banks of the Potomac River.Mount Vernon was designated...

 from George after the latter died in 1799.

Washington received a recess appointment
Recess appointment
A recess appointment is the appointment, by the President of the United States, of a senior federal official while the U.S. Senate is in recess. The U.S. Constitution requires that the most senior federal officers must be confirmed by the Senate before assuming office, but while the Senate is in...

 to the seat vacated by James Wilson
James Wilson
James Wilson was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence. Wilson was elected twice to the Continental Congress, and was a major force in drafting the United States Constitution...

 on September 29, 1798, after another Federalist, John Marshall
John Marshall
John Marshall was the Chief Justice of the United States whose court opinions helped lay the basis for American constitutional law and made the Supreme Court of the United States a coequal branch of government along with the legislative and executive branches...

, turned John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

 down and endorsed Washington. Formally nominated on December 18, 1798, he was confirmed by the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 on December 20, 1798, and received his commission the same day. He became an associate justice on February 4, 1799, at the age of 36. After Marshall became Chief Justice
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

 two years later, he voted with Marshall on all but three occasions (one being Ogden v. Saunders
Ogden v. Saunders
Ogden v. Saunders, 25 U.S. 213 , was a United States Supreme Court case that determined the scope of a bankruptcy law in contrast to a clause of the Constitution of the United States...

).

While serving on the Marshall Court, he authored the opinion of Corfield v. Coryell
Corfield v. Coryell
Corfield v. Coryell was an 1823 federal circuit court case decided by Justice Bushrod Washington while riding circuit...

, 6 Fed. Cas. 546 (C.C.E.D. Penn. 1823), while riding circuit
Circuit court
Circuit court is the name of court systems in several common law jurisdictions.-History:King Henry II instituted the custom of having judges ride around the countryside each year to hear appeals, rather than forcing everyone to bring their appeals to London...

 as an Associate Justice. In Corfield, Washington listed several rights traditionally viewed to be "fundamental." This list of fundamental rights has profoundly influenced later Constitutional jurisprudence, particularly with respect to the Privileges and Immunities Clause
Privileges and Immunities Clause
The Privileges and Immunities Clause prevents a state from treating citizens of other states in a discriminatory manner...

.

In 1816, he helped create the American Colonization Society
American Colonization Society
The American Colonization Society , founded in 1816, was the primary vehicle to support the "return" of free African Americans to what was considered greater freedom in Africa. It helped to found the colony of Liberia in 1821–22 as a place for freedmen...

 and held the position as its first president for his entire life. Justice Washington was an owner (and seller) of slaves.

Washington died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

. His remains are imposingly interred at Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon
The name Mount Vernon is a dedication to the English Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon. It was first applied to Mount Vernon, the Virginia estate of George Washington, the first President of the United States...

, along with his wife (who died of grief within two days of his demise).

Further reading


External links