As U.S. president, Tyler was a states’ rights advocate raised in the Democratic-Republicanism of the Jeffersonian era. He succeeded only once in six tries to have a Supreme Court nomination approved.
The son of a prominent Virginia family, Tyler graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1807. He studied law under his father, a former governor of Virginia, and passed the bar in 1809. He was a member of the Virginia state legislature in 1811-1816, 1823-1825, and in 1839. From 1817 to 1821, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was elected governor of Virginia in 1825, advocating strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and states’ rights, then in 1827 became a U.S. senator, a post he would hold until 1836.
As a Democrat and a states’ rights
The January, 1844, death of Justice Smith Thompson provided President Tyler with the opportunity to fill a vacancy on the Court. His first nominee, John C. Spencer,
Four Court decisions were nationally significant for the Tyler presidency. In Groves v. Slaughter
Newmyer, R. Kent. The Supreme Court Under Marshall and Taney. Reprint. Arlington Heights, Ill.: Harlan Davidson, 1986. Peterson, Norma Lois. The Presidencies of William Henry Harrison and John Tyler. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1989. Swindler, William F. “John Tyler’s Nominations: Robin Hood, Congress, and the Court.” In Yearbook, Supreme Court Historical Society. Washington, D.C.: Supreme Court Historical Society, 1977. Walker, Jane C. John Tyler: A President of Many Firsts. Blacksburg, Va.: McDonald & Woodward, 2000.
Commerce, regulation of
Groves v. Slaughter
Luther v. Borden
Prigg v. Pennsylvania
Read, John M.
Spencer, John C.
Swift v. Tyson
Walworth, Reuben H.