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Supreme Court Justices

Robert Grier (1794-1870)

Robert Grier was born in Pennsylvania on March 5, 1794. He was the eldest of 11 children. Grier was admitted to the bar in Pennsylvania after graduating from Dickinson College and reading for the bar. In 1833, Grier was appointed to a position as a state district court judge, where he remained until he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1846. Grier replaced his fellow Pennsylvanian Henry Baldwin, whose mental illness had led to the Marshall Court's disintegration. Grier was sympathetic to the southern position on slavery. After James Buchanan, also a Pennsylvanian and the 1856 Democratic nominee for the presidency (which he won), lobbied Grier, he voted with the southern majority. Grier remained on the Supreme Court through the Civil War. His mental faculties slowed in the late 1860s, and agreed to retire in 1870 after a delegation of justices suggested he do so. He died later that year.