Peter V. Daniel

Media Items
Personal Information
Saturday, April 24, 1784
Thursday, May 31, 1860
Childhood Location 
Childhood Surroundings 
Associate Justice
Nominated By 
Van Buren
Commissioned on 
Wednesday, March 3, 1841
Sworn In 
Monday, January 10, 1842
Left Office 
Thursday, May 31, 1860
Reason For Leaving 
Length of Service 
18 years, 4 months, 21 days
Peter V. Daniel
The Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States (Artist: Earl Clarke Daniel)

Peter Vivian Daniel was born and raised in Virginia where his family had resided since the colonial period. He went off to Princeton for one year but then returned to Virginia to read law and enter the bar. Daniel married the daughter of William Randolph who was attorney general and then secretary of state to George Washington. His father-in-law provided access to political power in Virginia.

Daniel held elected positions in Virginia government and was a strong supporter of Andrew Jackson, especially in Jackson's attack on the Bank of the United States. Jackson later offered Daniel the position of attorney general, but Daniel declined citing the paltry salary. Jackson then appointed him federal district judge for eastern Virginia.

Daniel's appointment to the Supreme Court came at the very end of Van Buren's term (following the election of the Whig president, William Henry Harrison, but prior to his inauguration). With the help of a Democratically controlled Senate, Daniel was confirmed days before the Harrison administration took office.

Though Daniel served on the Court for almost two decades, he authored only one significant constitutional case in which he spoke for the majority.

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Peter V. Daniel. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 25 August 2015. <>.
Peter V. Daniel, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 25, 2015).
"Peter V. Daniel," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 25, 2015,