Stephen J. Field

Media Items
Personal Information
Monday, November 4, 1816
Sunday, April 9, 1899
Childhood Location 
Childhood Surroundings 
Associate Justice
Nominated By 
Commissioned on 
Tuesday, March 10, 1863
Sworn In 
Wednesday, May 20, 1863
Left Office 
Wednesday, December 1, 1897
Reason For Leaving 
Length of Service 
34 years, 6 months, 12 days
Stephen J. Field
The Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States (Artist: Albert Rosenthal)

Stephen Johnson Field was born and raised in Connecticut. He attended Williams College and then read law. Field's family was remarkably accomplished. His three brothers were David Dudley Field (New York lawyer and politician), Cyrus W. Field (who promoted the first telegraph cable under the Atlantic Ocean), and Henry M. Field (a leading clergyman and author). Field's nephew was David Brewer, who was a Supreme Court justice; he and Field served together during Field's last 7 years on the bench; and Field's niece (Anita Whitney) was a litigant in a significant free speech case decided by the Court in 1927.

Field moved to California where he was elected as a Democrat to state legislative office and, later, to the state supreme court. Field was nominated by Lincoln in 1863 to fill a newly created tenth seat on the High Court. Field's appointment as a Democrat was based on his staunch support of the Union cause.

Field wanted to be chief justice, but that was not to be. He remained on the Court well after his faculties started to wane. Field's 34 years and 9+ months on the Court surpassed John Marshall's service by a mere five months.

Clerk Law School Terms Clerked
Clarence M. York 1896
Irwin B. Linton 1889, 1893, 1894

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Cite this Page
Stephen J. Field. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <>.
Stephen J. Field, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 26, 2015).
"Stephen J. Field," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015,