Justice Samuel Blatchford

Justice Samuel Blatchford joined the U.S. Supreme Court on April 3, 1882, replacing Justice Ward Hunt. Blatchford was born on March 9, 1820 in Upstate New York. A precocious talent, he enrolled in Columbia College (now Columbia University) when he was 13 years old and graduated in 1837. Blatchford then served as a secretary to New York Governor William Seward and studied law. He eventually entered private practice.

In May 1867, President Andrew Johnson appointed Blatchford to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which is the federal trial-level court for the New York City area. Since he received his appointment during a recess of the Senate, he was formally nominated and confirmed two months later.

Blatchford spent over a decade at the Southern District of New York. In February 1878, President Rutherford B. Hayes nominated him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Senate confirmed him a few weeks later. After four years on the Second Circuit, Blatchford was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court on March 13, 1882 by President Chester A. Arthur. Blatchford was confirmed on March 22, and he took the judicial oath at the start of the following month. He wrote over 400 opinions during his 11 years on the Supreme Court.

Blatchford died during the summer recess of the Court on July 7, 1893 in Newport, Rhode Island. He is buried in New York City. Justice Edward White, a future Chief Justice, replaced Blatchford on the Court.