John Rutledge

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Rutledge, John,

1739–1800, American jurist and political leader, 2d chief justice of the United States, b. Charleston, S.C.; brother of Edward RutledgeRutledge, Edward,
1749–1800, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. Charleston, S.C.; brother of John Rutledge. He studied law at the Middle Temple, London, and was admitted (1772) to the English bar.
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. After studying law in London he began practice in Charleston, S.C., in 1761. He rose to prominence when quite young, was a member (1762) of the provincial assembly, attorney general of South Carolina (1764–65), and a delegate (1765) to the Stamp Act Congress. He twice (1774–76, 1782–83) was a member of the Continental Congress and meanwhile held strong sway as president (1776–78) of his state and later (1779–82) as governor. As delegate (1787) to the Constitutional Convention, Rutledge played an important role in the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, and then (1788) was a member of the state ratifying convention. After serving (1789–91) as associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court he was chief justice of South Carolina. In July, 1795, he was appointed interim chief justice of the United States and presided at the August term of the Supreme Court, but the Senate (Dec., 1795) refused to confirm the appointment because of his bitter attacks on Jay's TreatyJay's Treaty,
concluded in 1794 between the United States and Great Britain to settle difficulties arising mainly out of violations of the Treaty of Paris of 1783 and to regulate commerce and navigation.
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See biography by R. H. Barry (1942, repr. 1971).

Rutledge, John

(1739–1800) governor; born in Charleston, S.C. (brother of Edward Rutledge). Educated in London, he returned to Charleston to become a brilliant lawyer. He was delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses (1774–75), returning home to join the Council of Safety, to serve as the first president of South Carolina (1776–78), and to fight in the American Revolution. As South Carolina's governor (1779–82), he reestablished civil government in a state that had been torn apart by war. A defender of wealth and privilege—and of the slave trade—he was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and tried to halt the adoption of direct popular election of the president and Congress. He was one of the first associate justices on the new U.S. Supreme Court (1789–91), but stepped down to become South Carolina's chief justice (1791–95). Nominated in 1795 as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, he was rejected by the Senate because of his attacks on the recent Jay Treaty.