Rutledge, John

Rutledge, John (1739-1800) Chief Justice of Supreme Court: Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Rutledge studied law in England and was admitted to the English bar in 1760. In 1761, after returning to the colonies, he was elected to the South Carolina Commons House of Assembly. Three years later, the King's Governor appointed him Attorney General of South Carolina, and he served for ten months. Joining the patriot cause, Rutledge became the youngest delegate to the Stamp Act Congress in 1765. He later headed the South Carolina delegation to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, and was involved in the South Carolina Ratification Convention in 1788. President George Washington appointed Rutledge one of the original Associate Justices of the US Supreme Court in 1789. After serving for only one year, he resigned to become Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. In 1795, when Chief Justice John Jay resigned to become Governor of New York, President Washington nominated Rutledge to replace him. Since the Senate was in recess, Rutledge served as a recess appointee for four months. When Senate reconvened, it refused to confirm his appointment, and he was rejected. Oliver Ellsworth filled the position a few months later. Rutledge died on June 21, 1800.