Ellsworth, Oliver


Ellsworth, Oliver (1745-1807) Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court: Ellsworth was born in Windsor, Connecticut, on April 29, 1745. After attending Yale College up to his sophomore year, he transferred to the College of New Jersey, which later became Princeton University. He graduated in 1766, and passed the bar in 1779, after studying law in a law office for four years. From 1773 to 1776, he was a member of the Connecticut General Assembly. As a delegate to the Continental Congress, in which he served from 1777 to 1784, he worked on many committees, In 1785, after serving on the Connecticut Council of Safety and the Governor's Council, he was appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Connecticut. At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, he helped create the "Connecticut Compromise," better known as the "Great Compromise," which resulted in a bicameral legislature to balance the representation of small and large states. When the first federal Congress was assembled, Ellsworth was elected a Senator, and served as chairman of the committee which drafted the Judiciary Act of 1789, establishing the federal court system. After the Senate refused to confirm John Rutledge as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, President George Washington nominated Ellsworth for the position. One day later, on March 4, 1796, the Senate confirmed Ellsworth. In 1800, he resigned from the Supreme Court, dying seven years later, on November 26, 1807.