Spencer, John C. Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

Whig Party member Spencer’s nomination to the Supreme Court failed, probably because President John Tyler, who appointed him, lacked the support of the Whigs or the Democrats.

A member of the Whig Party and a friend of President John Tyler, Spencer was appointed to the Supreme Court in September, 1844, but the Senate, despite having a Whig majority, rejected his confirmation by the narrow vote of twenty-one to twenty-six. Tyler had changed party affiliation from Democrat to Whig in order to gain the vice presidency, and upon the death of William Henry Harrison, he became an unelected president alienated from two parties. Spencer’s strong temper also became an issue during his confirmation bid.Tyler, John;nominations to the Court

John C. Spencer

(Library of Congress)

Spencer was appointed to replace fellow New Yorker Smith Thompson after serving as Tyler’s secretary of war and secretary of the treasury. In the same year as his failed appointment, Spencer resigned from public office in Washington, D.C., and returned to his thriving law practice in Albany. As a lawyer, his skill was rated very highly, with some reservations about how his zealousness for detail sometimes kept him from focusing on the larger issues of a case.

Nominations to the Court

Tyler, John

Walworth, Reuben H.

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