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Lincoln's Cabinet: Lincoln & Supreme Court

Political Science and Lincoln Junkies, rejoice! A treasure trove of information awaits you.

Articles of Interest

William Rehnquest, "The Notion of a Living Constitution" Texas Law Review Vol 54, No4, May 1976

Gerhardt, Michael. "Supreme Court Selection as War." Drake Law Review. 393 2001-2002




Along with a declaring martial law, President Abraham Lincoln ordered the suspension of the constitutionally protected right to writs of habeas corpus in 1861, shortly after the start of the American Civil War. At the time, the suspension applied only in Maryland and parts of the Midwestern states.

A real test for the President's Illinois friendships came when a vacancy appeared on the Supreme Court for the district that included Illinois. Both Orville H. Browning and David Davis began angling for the appointment in the spring of 1861 when Justice John McLean on April 4. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Drummond, another candidate for the post, was also a friend of President Lincoln and had presided over trials at which Mr. Lincoln had been a counsel.

Sample Primary Sources

  1. Missouri Delegates in Congress to Abraham Lincoln, Tuesday, March 18, 1862 (Recommend O.H. Browning for Supreme Court)
  2. Abraham Lincoln to Congress, [January 5, 1864] (Payment of bounties)
  3. Joint Resolution Submitting 13th Amendment to the States; signed by Abraham Lincoln and Congress
  4. Executive Order on July 17th Act of Congress on Insurrection, Treason and Rebellion, and Confiscation of Property