The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions - Vol. 2

By Leon Friedman; Fred L. Israel | Go to book overview

filibuster against the electoral settlement in Congress, especially in the House of Representatives, was apparently secured by hopes of the withdrawal of the last federal troops from the South, favorable appointments, appropriations, and railroad subsidies. Understandably, Field and Clifford refused to attend Hayes' inauguration. The Republican Chicago Tribune ( March 6, 1877) was quick to condemn their conspicuous absence as discourteous and uncalled for and found, as "the only explanation of their conduct . . . that, not being able to forget that they were Democrats, they were unable to remember that they were justices." But the remark was more appropriate for the Republican Justices. In fact, Clifford's role in the election controversy, along with some judicial tacking during the Civil War and Reconstruction, suggest that there were moments when Clifford rose above principle, prejudice, and even party to act the genuine patriot.


SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

The papers of Nathan Clifford are held by the Maine Historical Society. The biography by Philip Q. Clifford, Nathan Clifford, Democrat ( New York, 1922) is generally thin and outmoded, especially in matters of constitutional law and political history, but the author's observations of Clifford's temperament are as pungent as a Maine sea breeze. Many of Clifford's letters are reprinted as well in this volume. References to Clifford's activities in the administration of James K. Polk can be found in the magnificent diary of President Polk. An incisive analysis of Clifford's appointment to the Supreme Court is in Charles Warren, The Supreme Court in United States History, (2 vols; Boston, 1922). Clifford's judicial tenure during the Civil War is noted by David M. Silver, Lincoln's Supreme Court ( Urbana, Ill., 1956), while Clifford's twilight years are assessed with considerable force by C. Peter Magrath, Morrison R. Waite: The Triumph of Character ( New York, 1963).

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