John McKinley

Media Items
Personal Information
Monday, May 1, 1780
Monday, July 19, 1852
Childhood Location 
Childhood Surroundings 
Associate Justice
Nominated By 
Van Buren
Commissioned on 
Monday, September 25, 1837
Sworn In 
Tuesday, January 9, 1838
Left Office 
Monday, July 19, 1852
Reason For Leaving 
Length of Service 
14 years, 6 months, 10 days
John McKinley
The Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States (Artist: Matthew Harris Jouett)

John McKinley, the son of a physician, was born in Virginia and raised in Kentucky. He read law and practiced in Kentucky before moving to Alabama where he was soon drawn to politics rather than law. McKinley was elected to two non-consecutive terms in the U. S. Senate, but he never served the second time. Van Buren chose McKinley to fill one of two newly created seats that enlarged the Court from 7 to 9 members.

McKinley's 15 years on the Court were unproductive. In all, he wrote only twenty opinions, and none touched constitutional matters. He dissented at the same frequency but his was a solo voice, never managing to attract others to his views.

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Cite this Page
John McKinley. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <>.
John McKinley, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 26, 2015).
"John McKinley," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015,