Chase and Memorial Day

Last year I posted about Salmon Chase’s Memorial Day letter, from 1869, worth reading again this weekend. Chief Justice Chase was in South Carolina for circuit court duties, and he had been invited to attend an event at a cemetery just outside Charleston, South Carolina. Chase had to decline but explained his hopes as follows:…

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Chase Update

My Salmon Chase book is making progress towards publication November 9, 2021. I have corrected one set of page proofs; the publisher has them and is implementing the changes in a second set of page proofs. There were not many errors but those that WERE there were worrisome. On one page, for example, I misspelled…

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Chase Status

My book on Salmon Chase is progressing towards publication on November 9, 2021. The marketing staff at Simon & Schuster, about a month ago, suggested that the title did not work well. For one thing, the word “Chase” usually suggests Chase Bank, or a car chase, rather than Salmon P. Chase. For another, even with…

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Presidential Inaugurations

Watching the inauguration of Joe Biden today, and joining in his prayers for America, I was thinking about some of the inaugurations in which Salmon Chase participated. The first was the first inauguration of Andrew Jackson, in 1829. Chase was a young law student in Washington at the time, reading law with William Wirt, attorney…

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Did Lincoln Pack the Supreme Court?

This morning’s Washington Post accused Abraham Lincoln of packing the Supreme Court. The Post said: “Lincoln definitely supported . . . court-packing. In 1863, he and Republicans in Congress passed a law to create a 10th Supreme Court seat for largely partisan reasons. All told, Lincoln appointed five justices in just four years and five…

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Lincoln Delays Naming Chase

Last night, in the vice presidential debate, Senator Kamala Harris cited Abraham Lincoln as an example of the wisdom of waiting to make a Supreme Court nomination. She pointed out that when Chief Justice Roger Taney died, on October 12, 1864, Lincoln did not immediately nominate Taney’s successor. Lincoln waited, until after the presidential election…

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New Web Site

As you will see, if you are here, I have a new web site. My friends at AuthorBytes urged me to update, so that the site works better for those viewing it through their phones. So I would be especially curious to hear from readers/viewers who are looking at the site in that way: does…

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Drilling Through

I am reading this morning an excellent essay, by Edward White, about the “judicial culture” of the Supreme Court in the years in which Chase was Chief Justice. In a photo caption, White quotes Chase commenting on one of his colleagues on the Supreme Court, Samuel Freeman Miller, calling him the “dominant personality” of the…

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Chase’s Speech to the Blacks of Charleston

In May 1865, Chief Justice Salmon Chase visited the southern states to see for himself their condition. The civil war was almost over, it was clear that the southern states would rejoin the United States, but the terms on which they would join were not clear. In particular, it was not clear whether the federal…

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Salmon Chase and Memorial Day

Memorial Day originated after the Civil War, as communities gathered at this time of year to honor those who had died in the War. In late May 1869, Chief Justice Salmon Chase received a letter from South Carolina, inviting him to speak at a cemetery there. He responded as follows: “Your note inviting me to…

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