William Paterson

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William Paterson
Court Information:
Supreme Court of the United States
Title:   Former Justice
Position:   Seat #2
Appointed by:   George Washington
Active:   3/4/1793-9/9/1806
Preceded by:   Thomas Johnson
Succeeded by:   Henry Brockholst Livingston
Personal History
Born:   December 24, 1745
Hometown:   County Antrim, Ireland
Deceased:   September 9, 1806
Undergraduate:   College of New Jersey, 1763
Law School:   Read law, 1768
Grad. School:   College of New Jersey, 1766

William Paterson was an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. He joined the court in 1793 after a nomination from President George Washington. Paterson served until his death on September 9, 1806. Prior to joining the court, he was the Governor of New Jersey.[1]

Paterson was one of ten justices nominated to the Supreme Court by President Washington. He served during The Jay Court, The Rutledge Court, The Ellsworth Court and The Marshall Court.[2]


Paterson received an undergraduate degree from the College of New Jersey in 1763 and an M.A. from the College of New Jersey in 1766. He received his legal education by reading law.[1]

Professional career

  • 1790-1793: Governor of New Jersey
  • 1789-1790: United States Senator from New Jersey
  • 1787: Delegate, Federal Constitutional Convention
  • 1783-1789: Attorney in private practice, New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • 1776-1783: State attorney general, New Jersey
  • 1777: Member, New Jersey Council of Safety
  • 1777: Officer, Somerset County Battalion of Minutemen
  • 1776-1777: Member, Legislative Council, State of New Jersey
  • 1776: Member, Convention to form New Jersey State Constitution
  • 1775-1776: Assistant secretary and secretary, New Jersey Provincial Congress
  • 1772-1776: Attorney in private practice, Princeton and Somerset County, New Jersey
  • 1769-1772: Attorney in private practice, New Bromley, New Jersey[1]

Judicial career

Supreme Court of the United States

Paterson was nominated by President George Washington on March 4, 1793. He was confirmed by the Senate and received commission that same day. Paterson served until his death on September 9, 1806.[1] He was succeeded to this post by Justice Henry Brockholst Livingston.

Notable cases

Author: William Paterson

Vote Count: 5-0

Majority Justices: John Blair and John Rutledge

Concurring Justices: James Iredell and William Cushing

Retaining citizenship (1795)

In this case, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the United States Circuit Court for the District of South Carolina. The Court found that a U.S. citizen retained his or her citizenship even if a person left the United States and renounced their citizenship. Because Wilson decided this case on the Circuit Court, he did not participate in this decision.[3]

See also

External links


Political offices
Preceded by:
Thomas Johnson
Supreme Court
Seat #2
Succeeded by:
Henry Brockholst Livingston