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Gabriel Duvall

In office
November 23, 1811 – January 12, 1835
Nominated by James Madison
Preceded by Samuel Chase
Succeeded by Philip Pendleton Barbour

Born December 6, 1752(1752-12-06)
Prince Georges County, Maryland
Died March 6, 1844 (aged 91)
Glenn Dale, Maryland
Religion Reformed

Gabriel Duvall (December 6, 1752 – March 6, 1844) was an American politician and jurist.

Born in Prince George's County, Maryland, Duvall read law to enter the Bar in 1778. He was a Clerk for the Maryland Council of Safety from 1775 to 1777, and for the Maryland House of Delegates from 1777 to 1781. He participated in the American Revolutionary War, first as a Mustermaster and commissary of stores in 1776, then as a private in the Maryland militia, where he fought in the battles of Brandywine and Morristown. He was a Commissioner to preserve confiscated British property from 1781 to 1782, then a member, Maryland Governor's Council from 1782 to 1785. He was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates, serving there from from 1787 to 1794. He served one term as a U.S. Representative from the second district of Maryland, from November 11, 1794, to March 28, 1796. He was then Chief Justice of the Maryland General Court from 1796 to 1802, and was the first U.S. Comptroller of the Treasury from 1802 to 1811.

On November 15, 1811, Duvall was nominated by President James Madison to an Associate Justice seat on the Supreme Court of the United States vacated by fellow Marylander Samuel Chase Duvall was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 18, 1811, and received his commission the same day.

In the twenty-three years he sat on the Supreme Court, Duvall penned an opinion in only seventeen cases. For all of Duvall’s tenure, John Marshall presided as Chief Justice. In only two cases, does the record show the two men holding different opinions. In Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward,[1] Duvall offered only a brief note calling attention to French law on the irrevocability of royal charters. In Mima Queen v. Hepburn,[2] Duvall would have authorized the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia to accept hearsay evidence proving the emancipation of a slave by her owner, but the rest of the Court, per the Chief Justice, decided against it.

He served until January 12, 1835, when he resigned due to old age. He lived for nine years thereafter, and died in Prince George's County, Maryland. Justice Duvall's home, Marietta House Museum, is open to the public and is operated as an historic house museum by M-NCPPC.



  1. ^ 17 U.S. (4 Wheaton) 518 (1819).
  2. ^ 11 U.S. (7 Cranch) 290 (1834).

Further reading

  • Abraham, Henry J. (1992). Justices and Presidents: A Political History of Appointments to the Supreme Court (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-506557-3. 
  • Cushman, Clare (2001). The Supreme Court Justices: Illustrated Biographies, 1789–1995 (2nd ed.). (Supreme Court Historical Society, Congressional Quarterly Books). ISBN 1568021267. 
  • Flanders, Henry. The Lives and Times of the Chief Justices of the United States Supreme Court. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1874 at Google Books.
  • Frank, John P. (1995). Friedman, Leon; Israel, Fred L.. eds. The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions. Chelsea House Publishers. ISBN 0791013774. 
  • Hall, Kermit L., ed (1992). The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195058356. 
  • Martin, Fenton S.; Goehlert, Robert U. (1990). The U.S. Supreme Court: A Bibliography. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Books. ISBN 0871875543. 
  • Urofsky, Melvin I. (1994). The Supreme Court Justices: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: Garland Publishing. pp. 590. ISBN 0815311761. 
  • White, G. Edward. The Marshall Court & Cultural Change, 1815-35. Published in an abridged edition, 1991.

See also

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John F. Mercer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 2nd congressional district

1794 – 1796
Succeeded by
Richard Sprigg, Jr.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Samuel Chase
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
November 18, 1811 – January 12, 1835
Succeeded by
Philip Pendleton Barbour


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