SCHS: Court History — Rosette Detail

Nathan Clifford, 1858-1881

Justice Nathan Clifford, 1858-1881
NATHAN CLIFFORD was born on August 18, 1803, in Rumney, New Hampshire. After reading law in the office of a local attorney, he was admitted to the bar in 1827 and moved to Newfield, Maine, to establish a law practice. Clifford was elected to the lower house of the Maine legislature in 1830 for a one-year term and was re-elected three times, serving as its Speaker during the last two terms. He was then elected Attorney General of Maine by the State Legislature and served in that position from 1834 to 1838. In 1838, Clifford was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served two terms. Defeated in a bid for a third term, he returned to his law practice in 1843. President James K. Polk appointed Clifford Attorney General of the United States in 1846. Two years later, President Polk appointed Clifford United States Minister to Mexico. Clifford returned to Maine in 1849 and resumed his law practice in the City of Portland. Seven years later, on December 9, 1857, President James Buchanan nominated Clifford to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Senate confirmed the appointment on January 12, 1858. Clifford served on the Supreme Court for twenty-three years. He died on July 25, 1881, at the age of seventy-seven.