SCHS: Court History — Rosette Detail

John Rutledge, 1795

Associate Justice: 1789-1791, Chief Justice: 1795

Chief Justice John Rutledge, 1789-1791 / 1795
JOHN RUTLEDGE was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in September 1739. He studied law at the Inns of Court in England, and was admitted to the English bar in 1760. In 1761, Rutledge was elected to the South Carolina Commons House of Assembly. In 1764, he was appointed Attorney General of South Carolina by the King’s Governor and served for ten months. Rutledge served as the youngest delegate to the Stamp Act Congress of 1765, which petitioned King George III for repeal of the Act. Rutledge headed the South Carolina delegation to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and served as a member of the South Carolina Ratification Convention the following year. On September 24, 1789, President George Washington nominated Rutledge one of the original Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Senate confirmed the appointment two days later. After one year on the Supreme Court, Rutledge resigned in 1791 to become Chief Justice of South Carolina’s highest court. On July 1, 1795, President George Washington tapped Rutledge to be Chief Justice of the United States. He served in that position as a recess appointee until he was officially nominated to the senate on December 10, 1795. His nomination was rejected December 15, 1795. Rutledge died on July 18, 1800, at the age of sixty.