Robert C. Grier
Robert Cooper Grier was probably born to be a Presbyterian minister like his father and maternal grandfather. He was educated by his father until he was seventeen when the young Grier enrolled in Dickinson College. Grier graduated a year later. But Grier elected law, not the ministry. He studied privately, passed the bar, and became a prominent local attorney in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.
As a loyal Jacksonian Democrat, Grier won a patronage appointment as a state trial judge. Grier served in this position for thirteen years.
President Polk nominated Grier in 1846 to fill the vacancy created by Justice Baldwin's death two years earlier. Baldwin's seat remained vacant despite President Tyler's effort to fill it with two nominees. The vacancy remained when Polk assumed office. Polk first offered the position to James Buchanan, who turned it down. Then Polk nominated George Woodward, but the Senate balked and refused to confirm him. Grier was nominated and confirmed by a unanimous Senate.
Grier stayed beyond his ability to function. He was frail of mind and of body. He retired shortly after a committee of his colleagues urged him to step down.