SCHS: Court History — Rosette Detail

William Cushing, 1790-1810

Justice William Cushing, 1790-1810
WILLIAM CUSHING was born on March 1, 1732, in Scituate, Massachusetts. After graduation from Harvard College in 1751, Cushing taught school for one year in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and then read law in Boston. He was admitted to practice in 1755. In 1760, Cushing moved to Lincoln County, Massachusetts (Now Dresden, Maine), to become a Probate Judge and Justice of the Peace. In 1772, he was appointed to the Superior Court of Massachusetts Bay Province. Under the new State Government, Cushing was retained as a Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court, and in 1777 he was elevated to Chief Justice. From 1780 to 1789, he served as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Cushing strongly supported ratification of the United States Constitution and served as Vice Chairman of the Massachusetts Ratification Convention. On September 24, 1789, President George Washington nominated Cushing one of the original Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Senate confirmed the appointment two days later. Cushing served on the Supreme Court for twenty years and died on September 13, 1810, at the age of seventy-eight.