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.

Following is a list of all Article III federal judges appointed by John Adams. In total, John Adams appointed 22 Article III United States federal judges during his tenure (1797–1801) as President of the United States. Of these, 3 were appointments to the Supreme Court of the United States, 15 were to the United States circuit courts, and 4 to the United States district courts. Thirteen of the fifteen 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."[1]

United States Supreme Court Justices[edit]

# Justice Seat State Former Justice Nomination
date
Confirmation
date
Began
active service
Ended
active service
1 Bushrod Washington 3 Virginia James Wilson December 19, 1798 December 20, 1798 September 29, 1798[2] November 26, 1829
2 Alfred Moore 5 North Carolina James Iredell December 4, 1799 December 10, 1799 December 10, 1799 January 26, 1804
3 John Marshall Chief Virginia Oliver Ellsworth January 20, 1801 January 27, 1801 January 31, 1801 July 6, 1835

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

Circuit Courts[edit]

# Judge Circuit Nomination
date
Confirmation
date
Began active
service
Ended active
service
1 Richard Bassett Third February 18, 1801 February 20, 1801 February 20, 1801[3] July 1, 1802
2 Egbert Benson Second February 18, 1801 February 20, 1801 February 20, 1801[4] July 1, 1802
3 Benjamin Bourne First February 18, 1801 February 20, 1801 February 20, 1801[3] July 1, 1802
4 William Griffith Third February 18, 1801 February 20, 1801 February 20, 1801[3] July 1, 1802
5 Samuel Hitchcock Second February 18, 1801 February 20, 1801 February 20, 1801[3] July 1, 1802
6 Philip Barton Key Fourth February 18, 1801 February 20, 1801 February 20, 1801[3] March 3, 1801[5]
6.1 Philip Barton Key Fourth February 25, 1801 February 26, 1801 March 3, 1801[6] July 1, 1802
7 John Lowell First February 18, 1801 February 20, 1801 February 20, 1801[4] May 6, 1802
8 Jeremiah Smith First February 18, 1801 February 20, 1801 February 20, 1801[3] July 1, 1802
9 George Keith Taylor Fourth February 18, 1801 February 20, 1801 February 20, 1801[3] July 1, 1802
10 Oliver Wolcott Jr. Second February 18, 1801 February 20, 1801 February 20, 1801[3] July 1, 1802
11 William McClung Sixth February 21, 1801 February 24, 1801 February 24, 1801[3] July 1, 1802
12 William Cranch D.C. February 28, 1801 March 3, 1801 March 3, 1801[3] February 24, 1806[7]
13 Charles Magill Fourth February 25, 1801 February 26, 1801 March 3, 1801[3] July 1, 1802
14 James Markham Marshall D.C. February 28, 1801 March 3, 1801 March 3, 1801[3] November 16, 1803
15 William Tilghman Third February 26, 1801 March 2, 1801 March 3, 1801[4] July 1, 1802

Also appointed, but declined: Thomas Bee (5th circuit), Joseph Clay Jr. (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 1]
Nomination
date
Confirmation
date
Began active
service
Ended active
service
1 John Sloss Hobart D.N.Y. April 11, 1798 April 12, 1798 April 12, 1798 February 4, 1805
2 James Winchester D. Md. December 5, 1799 December 10, 1799 October 31, 1799[8] April 5, 1806
3 John Davis D. Mass. February 18, 1801 February 20, 1801 February 20, 1801 July 10, 1841
4 Elijah Paine D. Vt. February 24, 1801 February 25, 1801 March 3, 1801 April 1, 1842

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Appointed as an Associate Judge.
  4. ^ a b c Appointed as Chief Judge.
  5. ^ Laterally appointed as Chief Judge of the same court on March 3, 1801.
  6. ^ Laterally appointed as Chief Judge after previously serving as an Associate Judge of the same court.
  7. ^ Laterally appointed as Chief Judge of the same court on February 24, 1806.
  8. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 5, 1799, confirmed by the United States Senate on December 10, 1799, and received commission on December 10, 1799.

Sources[edit]