Walworth, Reuben H. Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Senate failed to act on Walworth’s appointment to the Supreme Court, probably because President John Tyler, who had appointed him, lacked support.

Born in Connecticut, Walworth studied law and began his practice in New York, where he was admitted to the bar in 1809 and rose to a judgeship in 1817. After serving as a member of Congress from 1821 to 1823 (while remaining on the bench), Walworth was appointed chancellor (or chief judge) of New York state, in which office he served ably, developing the state’s case law, until 1848.Tyler, John;nominations to the Court

On March 13, 1844, President John Tyler appointed Walworth to the Supreme Court to replace fellow New Yorker Smith Thompson, but the Senate took no action on the confirmation, and Tyler withdrew the appointment on June 17. An earlier appointee, John C. Spencer, had been rejected. Tyler had switched party affiliations to become the vice president under William Henry Harrison. Upon Harrison’s death in 1841, Tyler became a president lacking support both in the party he had left and in the party he had joined.

In 1850 the Court asked Walworth to serve as special master in the landmark case Pennsylvania v. Wheeling and Belmont Bridge Co.[case]Pennsylvania v. Wheeling and Belmont Bridge Co.[Pennsylvania v. Wheeling and Belmont Bridge Co.] (1852). Walworth accepted the task and published a report on the case in 1851.

Nominations to the Court

Pennsylvania v. Wheeling and Belmont Bridge Co.

Spencer, John C.

Tyler, John

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