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    President Monroe seeks to confer with Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story about a district judge appointment in Maine

    James Monroe Autograph Letter Signed as President. One page, with address leaf, 8" x 9.75", Washington [D.C.], July 5, 1822. A letter from President James Monroe to Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Joseph Story concerning the appointment of a district judge for Maine. Monroe writes: "It will give me pleasure to have an opportunity of conferring with you, respecting the appointment of a district judge for Maine, at any moment most convenient to yourself, as the office ought soon to be filled... James Monroe." The cover is addressed in Monroe's hand to "Judge Story."

    In the letter presented here, President Monroe is asking to meet with Judge Story to discuss the vacancy of the judgeship for the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, which had become vacant due to the resignation of Albion Parris (1788-1857) on January 1, 1822 to become the governor of Maine. It is not known what role Story played in Monroe's decision to fill the court seat, but Story would have known Monroe choice to fill the vacancy, Ashur Ware (1782-1973), who the president nominated on February 15, 1822 and the U.S. Senate confirmed the same day. Ware served until 1866.

    An interesting that shows the President of the U.S. consulting with a Supreme Court on a district court vacancy, an occurrence that would be frowned upon today. Ex. R. Douglas Stuart.

    Condition: Pencil annotation at top left, with light soiling and toning. A strip of mounting remnant remains along integral fold on verso, not affecting any text. Includes the original dealer folder from Forest H. Sweet circa 1930s.

    More Information:

    Joseph Story (1779-1845), born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and educated at Harvard College, was a leading Massachusetts lawyer and politician who became an eminent figure in the history of the Supreme Court of the United States. He began his distinguished legal career as a lawyer in Salem, Massachusetts in 1801. Story served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1805 to 1807 and later served as speaker of the Massachusetts House in 1811. He also served one term in the U.S. Congress (1808-1809). In 1811, Story was nominated to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court by President James Madison in November 1811 and was quickly confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He served as an associate justice on the court until his death in 1845. Story is most remembered for several important court decisions, including the 1841 Amistad case, which favored African captives who rebelled on a Spanish ship, ruling that they acted as free men. His book, entitled Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, first published in 1833, a cornerstone of early American law, was one of the most read legal texts in the 19th century. During his tenure on the nation's highest court, Story taught law at Harvard from 1829 to 1845. Story, along with Chief Justice John Marshall (1755-1835), were considered by Monroe as trusted advisors, and the president turned to them for advice on legal and other matters.

    Auction Info

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    October, 2017
    19th Thursday
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