Blair, John

Blair, John (1732-1800) Signer of the US Constitution, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court: John Blair was born in Williamsburg, Virginia, to a prominent family. A close friend of George Washington, he went to the College of William and Mary, then studied law in England. Upon his return to North American, he practiced law in Virginia. After serving in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1766 to 1770, he was Clerk of the Governor's Council from 1770 to 1775. A fervent patriot, he supported the boycott of British goods. In 1776, Blair helped draft the Virginia Constitution, and continued to hold various judicial posts in the new Virginia government. While sitting on the Court of Chancery, he ruled with the majority in Commonwealth v. Caton, declaring that the court had the right to judge legislative acts unconstitutional. In 1787, Blair was part of the Virginia delegation to the Constitutional Convention, within which he defended the nationalist position against his state-rights colleagues. Blair signed the Constitution, and President Washington appointed him Associate Justice of the first Supreme Court in 1790. Serving until 1796, Blair retired to Williamsburg, Virginia, where he died on August 31, 1800.