March 9th, 2017

book cover - tpbol

Supreme Court: David Davis

On this date in 1815, David Davis was born in Maryland (though he was more closely associated with Illinois). After receiving his law degree from Yale, he practiced in Illinois. He served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1845 and a delegate to the Illinois constitutional convention in 1847. From 1848 to 1862, Davis presided over the court of the Illinois Eighth Circuit. He was a delegate to the 1860 Republican National Convention, and served as Abraham Lincoln's campaign manager during the election of 1860. In 1862, Lincoln appointed Davis to the Supreme Court. Davis was respected for his independent views on the Court, and was expected to be the deciding vote on the electoral commission that was appointed to decide the election of 1876. However, the Illinois legislature elected him to the Senate, and he promptly resigned from the Court on March 4, 1877, to take his seat in the Senate. In 1881, he was elected President pro tempore of the Senate, the only person to be both President pro tempore and a Supreme Court Justice. He served one term in the Senate, then retired to Illinois in 1883. He died in 1886.