Unusual Judges

The following was first posted on the InChambers weblog compiled by boppanny@aol.com, May 2008.

[From Mark Levin’s book, “Men in Black”]

“Robert C. Grier (U.S. Supreme Court Justice). Appointed by James Polk in 1846, Grier suffered paralysis in 1867 and thereafter began a slow mental decline. Grier’s case is most troubling because he was the swing vote in one of the more important cases of his era, Hepburn v. Griswold, which struck down the law allowing the federal government to print money. “Grier’s demonstration of mental incapacity during the conference discussion was such that every one of his colleagues acknowledged that action had to be taken.”

“Nathan Clifford (U.S. Supreme Court Justice) . Clifford was appointed by James Buchanan in 1858. After a period of mental decline, Clifford suffered a stroke in 1880 just before the beginning of the October term of 1880. ‘Justice Miller described the situation bluntly: ‘Judge Clifford reached Washington on the 8th [of] October a babbling idiot. I saw him within three hours after his arrival and he did not know me or any thing, and though his tongue framed words there was no sense in them.’ Clifford kept his seat until his death in July 1881.”

“Henry Brockholst Livingston (U.S. Supreme Court Justice). Appointed by Thomas Jefferson in 1806, Livingston had killed a man in a duel before his appointment to the Court.”

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