Joseph R. Lamar

Media Items
Personal Information
Wednesday, October 14, 1857
Sunday, January 2, 1916
Childhood Location 
Childhood Surroundings 
Associate Justice
Nominated By 
Commissioned on 
Saturday, December 17, 1910
Sworn In 
Tuesday, January 3, 1911
Left Office 
Sunday, January 2, 1916
Reason For Leaving 
Length of Service 
4 years, 11 months, 30 days
Joseph R. Lamar
The Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States (Artist: Julian Lamar)

Born to a social prominent family, Joseph Lamar spent most of his life in his native Georgia. Though he attended the University of Georgia, he completed his education at Bethany College. Lamar studied law briefly at Washington and Lee University and passed the Georgia bar in 1880. While in private practice, Lamar served two terms in the Georgia legislature. Lamar was appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court in 1903 but served only two years.

Lamar's nomination to the nation's highest court was something of a surprise. Lamar had only brief contact with President Taft as a result of Taft's occasional vacations in Lamar's community of Augusta, Georgia. Lamar was little known outside the South, which cast potential doubt on his confirmation by a Republican Senate. Those doubts proved unfounded; Lamar was confirmed five days after his nomination.

Lamar proved to be a pedestrian justice, lacking imagination and creativity. He died after five years of service, leaving hardly a strand in the fabric of the law.

Clerk Law Schoolsort icon Terms Clerked
S. Edward Widdifield 1910
John E. Hoover 1913, 1914, 1915

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Joseph R. Lamar. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 28 August 2015. <>.
Joseph R. Lamar, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 28, 2015).
"Joseph R. Lamar," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 28, 2015,