H, Hoar, Ebenezer Rockwood
Edited By: Kermit L. Hall, James W. Ely Jr., Joel B. Grossman
Edited By: Kermit L. Hall
Hoar, Ebenezer Rockwood
(b. Concord, Mass., 21 Feb. 1816; d. Concord, 31 Jan. 1895), jurist, attorney general, congressman, and rejected nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. A grandson of Roger Sherman, Hoar graduated from Harvard Law School in 1835. After practicing law for five years, he won a seat in the Massachusetts senate. During the campaign he stated his strong antislavery convictions.
In 1849 he was appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Massachusetts, a position he resigned to resume private practice in 1855. In 1859 he became an associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. He left the bench to become President Ulysses S. Grant’s attorney general in 1869. When Congress created nine new circuit judgeships, Hoar’s insistence that these positions be filled by persons of integrity and ability earned him the animosity of many senators, who considered these positions opportunities for political patronage (see judiciary act of 1869). President Grant nominated Hoar for a seat on the Supreme Court on 15 December 1869; a bitter fight over his confirmation raged for seven weeks. The Senate rejected his nomination on 3 February 1870 by a vote of 33 to 24. His high professional standards, refusal to play party politics, and (p. 466) advocacy of a civil service system lost for the nation a justice of uncompromising integrity.
Hoar resigned his position as attorney general in 1870 at Grant’s request, as Grant felt it politically expedient to appoint a person from the South to the post. He served a single term in Congress (1873–1875) after which he resumed his private law practice and retired from public life. Hoar died on 31 January 1895.
See also nominees, rejection of.
Judith K. Schafer