Oliver Ellsworth

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Oliver Ellsworth
Oliver Ellsworth.jpg
Court Information:
Supreme Court of the United States
Title:   Former Chief Justice
Position:   Seat #1
Appointed by:   George Washington
Active:   3/4/1796-9/30/1800
Preceded by:   John Jay
Succeeded by:   John Marshall
Personal History
Born:   April 29, 1745
Hometown:   Windsor, CT
Deceased:   November 26, 1807
Undergraduate:   Princeton, 1766
Law School:   Read law, 1771

Oliver Ellsworth was the third Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He joined the court as Chief Justice in 1796 after being nominated by President George Washington. He resigned on September 30, 1800 and passed away on November 26, 1807. When he joined the court, Ellsworth was a U.S. Senator from Connecticut.[1]

In addition to serving as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Ellsworth was the primary author of the Judiciary Act of 1789. He is also credited with the "Connecticut Compromise," which created the bicameral Congress with equal state representation during the drafting of the Constitution.[2]

Early life and education

Professional career

  • 1801-1807: Member, Connecticut Governor's Council
  • 1799-1800: U.S. Minister Plenipotentiary to France
  • 1789-1796: U.S. Senator from Connecticut
  • 1787: Delegate, Federal Constitutional Convention
  • 1784-1789: Judge, Connecticut Superior Court
  • 1784-1785: Member, Connecticut Governor's Council
  • 1778-1783: Delegate, Continental Congress
  • 1779: Member, Connecticut Council of Safety
  • 1777-1785: State's attorney, Hartford, Connecticut
  • 1775-1784: Attorney in private practice, Hartford, Connecticut
  • 1773-1775: Member, Connecticut General Assembly
  • 1771-1775: Attorney in private practice, Windsor, Connecticut[1]

Judicial career

Supreme Court

Ellsworth was nominated to the position of Chief Justice by President George Washington on March 3, 1796, to fill the vacancy left by John Jay. Ellsworth was confirmed by the Senate on March 4, 1796, and received commission on March 4, 1796. He resigned on September 30, 1800.[1] He was succeeded to this post by Chief Justice John Marshall.

Notable cases

Author: Oliver Ellsworth

Vote Count: 4-0

Majority Justices: William Paterson, Samuel Chase and Bushrod Washington

Original jurisdiction in case of states land dispute (1799)

Prior to this case, two private parties were involved in a land dispute on New York's western border with Pennsylvania. The States of Connecticut and New York claimed jurisdiction over the land and had granted it to separate parties. The parties sued each other over ownership, eventually leading New York to file suit against Connecticut. The Supreme Court denied New York's sought-after injunction. This case marked the first time that the Supreme Court utilized original jurisdiction as granted to it under Article III of the United States Constitution.[3]

See also

External links


Political offices
Preceded by:
John Jay
Supreme Court
Seat #1
Succeeded by:
John Marshall