HAYS, WILLIAM HERCULES
Born August 26, 1820, in Washington County, KY
Died March 7, 1880, in Louisville, KY
Federal Judicial Service:
U. S. District Court, District of Kentucky
Received a recess appointment from Rutherford B. Hayes on September 6, 1879, to a seat vacated by Bland Ballard; nominated on December 1, 1879; Confirmed by the Senate on December 10, 1879, and received commission on December 10, 1879. Service terminated on March 7, 1880, due to death.
Read law, 1845
Private practice, Springfield, Kentucky, 1845-1851
County judge, County of Washington, Kentucky, 1851-1859
Private practice, Springfield, Kentucky, 1859-1860
Kentucky state representative, 1861
U.S. Army Colonel, 1861-1866
State inspector general, Kentucky, 1865-1866
Oil and gas entrepreneur, Springfield, Kentucky, 1866-1867
Private practice, Springfield, Kentucky, 1867-1879
HARLAN, JOHN MARSHALL
Born June 1, 1833, in Boyle County, KY
Died October 14, 1911, in Washington, DC
Federal Judicial Service:
Supreme Court of the United States
Nominated by Rutherford B. Hayes on October 16, 1877, to a seat vacated by David Davis; Confirmed by the Senate on November 29, 1877, and received commission on November 29, 1877. Service terminated on October 14, 1911, due to death.
Transylvania Law Department
Centre College, B.A., 1850
Read law, 1853
Served as the Adjutant General of Kentucky, 1851-1859.
Private practice, Frankfort, Kentucky, 1853-1861
City attorney, Frankfort, Kentucky, 1854-1858
Judge, County Court of Franklin County, Kentucky, 1858
Private practice, Louisville, Kentucky, 1861
U.S. Army Colonel, 10th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1863
State attorney general, Kentucky, 1863-1867
Private practice, Louisville, Kentucky, 1867-1877
Member, Commission to settle the dispute over Louisiana legislative elections, 1877
John Marshall Harlan (1833-1911), associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Born into a slaveholding Kentucky family, Harlan imbibed strong nationalist views from his father, a two-term Whig congressman and an ally of Henry Clay. Entering law practice and politics during the turbulent 1850s, young Harlan became a staunch Unionist and, when war finally erupted, he became colonel of a Union regiment. Nevertheless, although strongly opposed to secession, he remained a defender of slavery, denouncing Lincoln and wartime emancipation policies. Reconstruction, however, transformed Harlan's views on race. As an aspiring politician with an inbred hostility toward Democrats, he soon became a leading figure in the state's fledgling Republican party. With the zeal of the recent convert, he embraced the party's support for civil equality, advocating vigorous use of national power on behalf of the freedmen.
Republican politics brought Harlan to the national stage. In 1876, he played a crucial role in securing the presidential nomination for Rutherford B. Hayes, and in 1877 Hayes rewarded him with an appointment to the Supreme Court. Although affable and well liked by his colleagues, Harlan, a devout Presbyterian, viewed judging as a moral act. He was inflexible on matters of principle and refused to be swept along by the Court's drift to the right. As a member of the Court for thirty-four years (only three justices have served longer), he distinguished himself principally by passionate, often eloquent, dissents that forcefully challenged the new conservative orthodoxy.
During Harlan's tenure, a wide range of important economic issues came before the Court. In these cases, Harlan was no radical. He interpreted the contract clause as protecting out-of-state investors from state governments and used the due process clause to void legislation favorable to unions. Nevertheless, he demonstrated little of his conservative colleagues' fear that increasing government regulation would undermine private property and lead to socialism. An expansive nationalism and hostility to monopoly led him to support federal statutes regulating the railroads (Texas and Pacific Railway Co. v. Interstate Commerce Commission, 1896), curbing trusts (Standard Oil Company v. United States, 1911), and establishing an income tax (Pollock v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Co., 1895).
Harlan's most important contribution to American jurisprudence came in the area of civil rights. He clung tenaciously to Radical Republican orthodoxy while his colleagues adopted a narrow view of national power under the Reconstruction amendments, gutted much of the civil rights legislation passed during Reconstruction, and upheld state segregation and disfranchisement measures. His dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 case that sustained a Louisiana segregation statute, offered a powerful defense of equal rights that the Court would echo fifty-eight years later in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954). "Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens," he wrote. "In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law." Harlan also took an expansive view of the rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, arguing that it incorporated the guarantees of the Bill of Rights and applied them to the states, a view that was rejected during his life but that in substance had been adopted by the end of the 1960s.
GABRIEL CALDWELL WHARTON
WHARTON, Gabriel Caldwell, soldier, born in Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky, 13 June, 1839; died in Louisville, Kentucky, 22 February, 1887. He was the son of a farmer, and was educated at the public schools, the academy of his native town, and the law department of Louisville university. In 1860, at the age of twenty-one, he began the practice of law at Springfield with immediate success. The next year, at the opening of the civil war, he enlisted in the 10th Kentucky infantry in the United States volunteer army, and in November was commissioned major of that regiment. With the regiment, Major Wharton shared in the engagements and marches of the Army of the Cumberland, and in March, 1863, was promoted to be lieutenant-colonel. He commanded and bore a gallant part in the battles of Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge and the engagements of the Atlanta campaign in 1864, until, at the expiration of his three years' service, he was mustered out. He then resumed his law-practice at Louisville, and in 1866 was appointed assistant United States attorney for the district of Kentucky. On the appointment of Benjamin H. Bristow as secretary of the treasury, Colonel Wharton succeeded to the district attorneyship, holding that office for ten years. In 1880 he opened an office in Washington, and, after two years' practice there, spent some time in Mexico in the interest of a railroad company. Returning, after a year's absence, he resided in New York city, where he soon had a lucrative practice. He was on a visit to Louisville when he died while alone in his room at a hotel.