Samuel Blatchford

Media Items
Personal Information
Thursday, March 9, 1820
Friday, July 7, 1893
Childhood Location 
New York
Childhood Surroundings 
New York
Associate Justice
Nominated By 
Commissioned on 
Wednesday, March 22, 1882
Sworn In 
Monday, April 3, 1882
Left Office 
Friday, July 7, 1893
Reason For Leaving 
Length of Service 
11 years, 3 months, 4 days
New York
Samuel Blatchford
The Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States (Artist: Adrian Lamb)

Samuel Blatchford was born and educated in New York. He enrolled in Columbia College at thirteen and graduated at the top of his class. He practiced admiralty and international law for 25 years when he was appointed a federal trial judge in 1867. Five years later, Blatchford was elevated to the U.S. Circuit Court. He was an appellate judge for 10 years when Chester A. Arthur appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1882. Blatchford was Arthur's third choice for the High Cout seat, but two other candidates refused Arthur's invitation to serve.

Blatchford was an expert in admiralty and patent law, and he was well-versed in the construction of the nation's banking laws. This wealth of knowledge made Blatchford the Court's workhorse.

Blatchford was uninterested in questions of moment; but he was supremely invested in the judicial function, dissenting less frequently than any justice since the era of John Marshall. He authored few cases calling for constitutional interpretation. One lackluster performance was Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway v. Minnesota (1890).

Which player's contribution to baseball best matches Samuel Blatchford's contribution to law?

Try Again Play Ball What is this?
Cite this Page
Samuel Blatchford. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 25 August 2015. <>.
Samuel Blatchford, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 25, 2015).
"Samuel Blatchford," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 25, 2015,