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 William Cushing

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William Cushing

  • Birth 1 Mar 1732 Scituate, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death 13 Sep 1810 Scituate, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Burial Scituate, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Memorial ID 7944

Jurist, US Supreme Court Associate Justice. One of the first Associate Justices, he served in this position from September 1789 until his death. The son of a lawyer and Massachusetts Colony judge, he graduated from Harvard College at Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1751 and was admitted to the Boston, Massachusetts bar four years later. He then practiced law in present-day Maine until 1772 when he was appointed to the Massachusetts Superior Court bench to replace his father. Following the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in April 1775, he was appointed Chief Justice to the Massachusetts Superior Court. Probably his most noted case involved a slave by the name of Quock Walker who in 1783 filed a freedom suit, and he ruled in Quock's favor, which inevitability led to the end of slavery in Massachusetts. He presided over the trials of the ringleaders involved in the Shay's Rebellion (1786 to 1787), and in 1788 he served as vice president of the Massachusetts Convention that ratified the US Constitution by a narrow margin. After George Washington became the first US President in April 1789, he was chosen to become one of the first US Supreme Court Justices. His views generally fell in line with the Federalist Party and often found himself on opposing sides with the Democratic-Republicans under Thomas Jefferson. In Chief US Supreme Court Justice John Jay resigned in 1795, President Washington nominated him as a replacement, hut he declined the appointment after being unanimously confirmed by the US Senate. During his tenure, his two most important cases were Chisholm v. Georgia and Ware v. Hylton, that involved intrastate suits and supremacy of treaties. He died at the age of 78 and was succeeded by Joseph Story.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 23 Dec 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7944
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for William Cushing (1 Mar 1732–13 Sep 1810), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7944, citing Cushing Family Cemetery, Scituate, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .