William Johnson

Media Items
Personal Information
Friday, December 27, 1771
Monday, August 4, 1834
Childhood Location 
South Carolina
Childhood Surroundings 
South Carolina
Associate Justice
Nominated By 
Commissioned on 
Monday, March 26, 1804
Sworn In 
Monday, May 7, 1804
Left Office 
Monday, August 4, 1834
Reason For Leaving 
Length of Service 
30 years, 2 months, 28 days
South Carolina
William Johnson
The Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States (Artist: unknown)

William Johnson came from humble but proud stock in South Carolina. His father was a blacksmith and revolutionary patriot who was detained during the war for independence.

Johnson was educated at Princeton where he graduated first in his class. Upon graduation, Johnson returned to South Carolina where he read law and entered the bar.

Johnson served as a Republican in the South Carolina House of Representatives. Later he was chosen by the legislature to serve on the state's highest court.

Jefferson selected Johnson as his first of three Supreme Court appointments. Johnson will best be known for his independence in resisting the iron grip of Chief Justice John Marshall with whom he served for virtually all his years on the High Court. Johnson was the Court's first great dissenter.

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Cite this Page
William Johnson. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 25 August 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/justices/william_johnson>.
William Johnson, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/justices/william_johnson (last visited August 25, 2015).
"William Johnson," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 25, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/justices/william_johnson.