Rufus Peckham

In doing some research on Justice Rufus Peckham (the author of Lochner), I came across two fascinating facts that I didn’t know. The first is that his older brother, Wheeler, was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1894 (Rufus was named in 1895) but was unable to win Senate confirmation. We’ve had brothers on the same federal court–Richard and Morris Arnold in the Eighth Circuit–but never on the Supreme Court. The second is that he is the last Justice nominated by a Democratic President and confirmed by a Republican Senate.  When you think about that, it’s pretty astounding–not since 1895!  (Indeed, President Cleveland is the only Democratic President who picked Justices when Republicans controlled the Senate.)

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3 Responses

  1. A.J. Sutter says:

    Not only is your second fact astounding, it’s also depressing in light of Peckham’s claim to fame: look what kind of nominee it takes to get past a Republican Senate…

  2. Joe says:

    Cleveland was a conservative Democrat at that.

    Wilson was the only Democratic President until FDR, then Congress was mostly controlled by Democrats for quite some time. There is something of a chance things might change in the next four years.

    As to his brother, I see the problem was a patronage dispute between Cleveland and a NY senator. By the time Rufus was nominated, election defeats made the senator weaker politically. His brother was involved in the prosecution against Boss Tweed.