John McLean

Media Items
Personal Information
Friday, March 11, 1785
Thursday, April 4, 1861
Childhood Location 
New Jersey
Childhood Surroundings 
New Jersey
Associate Justice
Nominated By 
Commissioned on 
Saturday, March 7, 1829
Sworn In 
Friday, March 12, 1830
Left Office 
Thursday, April 4, 1861
Reason For Leaving 
Length of Service 
31 years, 0 months, 23 days
John McLean
The Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States (Artist: Charles Bird King)

Though born in New Jersey, John McLean was raised a farmer's son near Lebanon, Ohio. He attended the local school and later was tutored privately. He apprenticed with a Cincinnati lawyer. After his admission to the bar, McLean briefly entered the newspaper publishing business. Thereafter, he was twice elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

McLean was a loyal Democrat. In return for his support, President James Monroe appointed McLean postermaster general. At the time, this was the largest executive agency. He continued his service under President John Quincy Adams. President Andrew Jackson appointed McLean to the Supreme Court, perhaps hoping to quell his political ambition. But the Court is not a monastery, and McLean repeatedly sought a presidential nod from his Supreme Court perch. For his long years of serve on the Court, McLean's record is extraordinary thin on constitutional issues.

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Cite this Page
John McLean. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 25 August 2015. <>.
John McLean, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 25, 2015).
"John McLean," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 25, 2015,