An expert in admiralty law, Wayne helped expand the power of the federal government over waterborne commerce as a Supreme Court justice. Although a Southerner and a defender of slavery, he supported the Union during the Civil War.
Wayne began practicing law in 1810, served in the Georgia legislature from 1815 to 1817, and was mayor of Savannah from 1817 to 1819. He served as a local and state judge from 1819 to 1828, when he was elected to Congress. He was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Andrew Jackson on January 6, 1835, confirmed by the Senate on January 9, and sworn in five days later.
James M. Wayne
Wayne’s written opinions often dealt with admiralty law
In Scott v. Sandford
Admiralty and maritime law
Cummings v. Missouri
Scott v. Sandford