Strong, William Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

Strong wrote the Court majority opinion that upheld the Legal Tender Act of 1862 and the constitutional opinion that African Americans had a right to not be discriminated against in the selection of jurors.

After graduating from Yale Law School in 1828, Strong practiced law in Pennsylvania from 1832 to 1847. From 1847 to 1851 he served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1857 he was elected to the Pennsylvania supreme court. He remained on the bench until 1868, when he resigned to return to his private law practice.Legal Tender ActGrant, Ulysses S.;nominations to the CourtLegal Tender Act

William Strong

(Mathew Brady/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States)

In 1870 President Ulysses S. Grant nominated Strong and Joseph P. Bradley to the Supreme Court. Many congressmen believed that the nominations were a Court-packing scheme by Grant because of the Legal Tender Cases[case]Legal Tender Cases[Legal Tender Cases] (1870) before the Court. In the Legal Tender Act of 1862, Congress declared that paper money issued during the Civil War by the federal government was legal tender for all debts. The constitutionality of this declaration was challenged on February 7, 1870, the same day that Strong and Bradley were nominated, and the Court declared the Legal Tender Act unconstitutional. However, upon rehearing the case in 1871, the Court reversed itself. Strong and Bradley provided the swing votes, and Strong wrote the majority opinion. Strong became regarded as a very articulate opinion writer for the Court.

Bradley, Joseph P.

Civil War

Legal Tender Cases

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