Samuel Nelson

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The United States Supreme Court has had just about one hundred associate justices in the past years, including Samuel Nelson. He was the only man appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President Tyler during his presidency. President Tyler appointed Samuel Nelson because Nelson had a good reputation for his certainty in the judicial power and for his commonsense that Tyler thought would greatly help the US Supreme Court. Nelson served as an associate justice from 1845 to 1874 and brought immense experience with him. During his term, Samuel Nelson became a part of one of the biggest United States Supreme Court cases in history.

Samuel Nelson was born in Hebron, New York November 10, 1792. Nelson graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1813 and soon studied law in Salem under Chief-Justice Savage. From 1823 to 1831, Samuel Nelson was a circuit judge and in 1837 he was raised to become the chief justiceship, of which he presided for eight years. In 1845, Nelson was appointed by President Tyler to replace Judge Smith Thompson on the Supreme Court of the United States. Nelson was approached by President Tyler in desperation because the President's attempts to fill the spot for an associate justice were not turning out well. All of the nominees had either refused their nominations or they had failed to win Senate approval. Luckily, Nelson, as a substitute, quickly flew through the process of nomination.

Probably one of the most well known and influential cases of Samuel Nelson was the famous 1857 Dred Scott versus Sanford case. Dred Scott was a slave of Dr. Emerson of Missouri, a slave state, who was taken by Dr. Emerson to Illinois and Wisconsin, which are both free states in the United States. Scott argued that once he moved to Illinois, a free state, he would become a free man. Dred Scott also argued that John Sandford (Mrs. Emerson's brother) to whom he sold to by Dr. Emerson lived in New York which made them citizens from different states which made his case valid to be tried with the Supreme Court. Thus, the decision of the United States Supreme Court, which included Nelson, was based on whether or not the Supreme Court had jurisdiction to try the case and also whether or not Scott was a United States citizen.

Interestingly, out of the nine justices of the United States Supreme Court, seven were appointed by pro-slavery presidents of which five of the justices had slaves.
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