Though born in Virginia, Robert Trimble spent most of his life in Kentucky where he studied and read law. After a short stint in the Kentucky House of Representatives, Trimble took a seat on the state Court of Appeals. He resigned 8 years later stating that the compensation ($1000 a year) was inadequate. Trimble devoted his energy to private practice. By 1817, he was a rich man and owned several slaves. With his financial security assured, Trimble accepted Madison's nomination to the federal trial court in Kentucky. Eight years later, John Quincy Adams named Trimble, a staunch nationalist, as his only appointment to the Supreme Court. Trimble's tenure was brief: 27 months. He was the Court's voice in 15 opinions. His only constitutional opinion gave rise to Chief Justice John Marshall's only dissent.