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R, Read, John Meredith

Edited By: Kermit L. Hall, James W. Ely Jr., Joel B. Grossman

From: The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (2nd Edition)

Edited By: Kermit L. Hall

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved. Subscriber: null; date: 24 September 2020

Read, John Meredith

(b. Philadelphia, 21 July 1797; d. 29 Nov. 1874), unconfirmed nominee to the Supreme Court. Read graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1812 and was admitted to the bar on 7 Sept. 1818. From 1837 to 1841 he served as U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania. On 7 Feb. 1845 President John *Tyler appointed Read to the Supreme Court to fill a vacancy on the Third Circuit. Read’s nomination followed the withdrawal of the nomination of Edward *King. Both nominations suffered from Tyler’s lack of support from either Whigs or Democrats. Read’s nomination died without action at the end of the Twenty-eighth Congress.

In 1846 Read was appointed attorney general of Pennsylvania but soon returned to private practice. In the mid-1850s Read became an active member of the new Republican party; as a result of that party’s victory in Pennsylvania in 1858, he was elected to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where he served for fifteen years, becoming chief justice in 1872. During the *Civil War he was one of the bare majority on that court who sustained federal legislation, and his opinions supporting the constitutionality of the national draft and *legal tender acts received wide national circulation.

See also nominees, rejection of.

Elizabeth B. Monroe