SCHS: Court History — Rosette Detail

David Davis, 1862-1877

Justice David Davis, 1862-1877
DAVID DAVIS was born in Cecil County, Maryland, on March 9, 1815. After graduation from Kenyon College in 1832, he moved to Massachusetts where he read law with a local judge. He then enrolled in Yale Law School and was graduated in 1835. Davis moved to Pekin, Illinois, to establish a practice, and one year later moved to Bloomington. He was elected to the State Legislature in 1845 and to the Illinois Constitutional Convention in 1847. In the Convention, Davis championed a popularly elected state judiciary to replace the existing system of election by the legislature. His views prevailed, and in 1848 he was elected a Circuit Court Judge. Re-elected twice, he served until 1862. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas were among the lawyers who tried cases in his court. Abraham Lincoln nominated David Davis to replace John A. Campbell on December 1, 1862 and he was confirmed by voice vote on December 8, 1862. Davis had served fourteen years on the Court when he was elected to the United States Senate by the Illinois State Legislature. He resigned from the Supreme Court and served one term in the Senate, retiring in 1883. Davis died three years later, on June 26, 1886, at the age of seventy-one.