Morrison Waite

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Morrison Remick Waite served as the Chief Justice of the United States.

Morrison Remick Waite (November 29, 1816March 23, 1888) was the Chief Justice of the United States from 1874 to 1888.

He was born at Lyme, Connecticut, the son of Henry Matson Waite, who was a judge of the Superior Court and associate judge of the Supreme Court of Connecticut in 1834-1854 and chief justice of the latter in 1854-1857.

He graduated from Yale in 1837, and soon afterwards moved to Maumee, Ohio, where he studied law in the office of Samuel L. Young and was admitted to the bar in 1839. In 1850 he moved to Toledo, and he soon came to be recognized as a leader of the state bar. In politics he was first a Whig and later a Republican, and in 1849-1850 he was a member of the Ohio Senate. In 1871, with William M. Evarts and Caleb Cushing, he represented the United States as counsel before the Alabama Tribunal at Geneva, and in 1874 he presided over the Ohio constitutional convention. In the same year he was appointed by President U. S. Grant to succeed Judge Salmon P. Chase as Chief Justice of the United States, and he held this position until his death at Washington, D.C..

In the cases which grew out of the Civil War and Reconstruction, and especially in those which involved the interpretation of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments, he sympathized with the general tendency of the court to restrict the further extension of the powers of the Federal government. He concurred with the majority in the Head Money Cases (1884), the Ku-Klux Case (United States v. Harris, 1882), the Civil Rights Cases (1883) and the Juillard v. Greenman (legal tender) Case (1883). Among his own most important decisions were those in the Enforcement Act Cases (1875), the Sinking Fund Case (1878), the Railroad Commission Cases (1886) and the Telephone Cases (1887).


Preceded by:
Salmon P. Chase
Chief Justice of the United States
March 4, 1874March 23, 1888
Succeeded by:
Melville Fuller

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