Joseph McKenna: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For Joseph McKenna the member (Volunteer) in the Irish Republican Army, see List of members of the Irish Republican Army.
Joseph McKenna

In office
January 21, 1898[1] – January 5, 1925
Nominated by William McKinley
Preceded by Stephen Johnson Field
Succeeded by Harlan Fiske Stone

In office
March 5, 1897 – January 25, 1898
President William McKinley
Preceded by Judson Harmon
Succeeded by John W. Griggs

In office
1892 – 1897
Nominated by Benjamin Harrison
Preceded by Lorenzo Sawyer
Succeeded by William W. Morrow

Born August 10, 1843(1843-08-10)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died November 21, 1926 (aged 83)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Amanda Borneman McKenna
Alma mater St. Joseph's University
Benicia Collegiate Institute
Columbia Law School
Profession Lawyer, Politician
Religion Roman Catholic

Joseph McKenna (August 10, 1843 – November 21, 1926) was an American politician who served in all three branches of the U.S. federal government, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, as U.S. Attorney General and as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Irish Catholic immigrants, he attended St. Joseph's College and the Collegiate Institute at Benicia, California. After being admitted to the California bar in 1865, he became District Attorney for Solano County and then served in the California State Assembly for two years (1875-1877).

McKenna was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1885 and served for four terms. He was appointed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1892 by President Benjamin Harrison.

In 1897 he was appointed Attorney General of the United States by President William McKinley, and served in that capacity until 1898. He was then appointed an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States to succeed Justice Stephen J. Field. McKenna faced opposition to his appointment in the Senate, but his supporters there enabled him to win confirmation in January 1898. Conscious of his limited credentials, McKenna took courses at Columbia Law School for several months to improve his legal education before taking his seat on the Court.

McKenna was known to be a centrist, and authored few dissents. His most noteworthy opinions are Hipolite Egg Co. v. United States, in which a unanimous Court upheld the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, and Hoke v. United States, which upheld the Mann Act. While McKenna was generally quite favorable to federal power, he voted with the majority in 1905's Lochner v. New York, which struck down a state maximum-hours law for bakery workers.

McKenna resigned from the Court in January 1925 at the suggestion of Chief Justice William Howard Taft.[2] McKenna's ability to perform his duties had been diminished significantly by a stroke suffered ten years earlier, and by the end of his tenure McKenna could not be counted on to write coherent opinions.[2]

Justice McKenna was one of thirteen Catholic justices – out of 111 total through the appointment of Justice Sonia Sotomayor  – in the history of the Supreme Court.[3]

McKenna was married to Amanda Borneman in 1869, and the couple bore three daughters and one son. He died in 1926 in Washington, D.C.. His remains are interred at the city's Mount Olivet Cemetery.[4]


See also



  1. ^ "Federal Judicial Center: Joseph McKenna". 2009-12-11. Retrieved 2009-12-11.  
  2. ^ a b Appel, JM. Anticipating the Incapacitated Justice, August 22, 2009.
  3. ^ Religious affiliation of Supreme Court justices Justice Sherman Minton converted to Catholicism after his retirement.
  4. ^ Joseph McKenna at Find a Grave Retrieved on 2008-02-10 See also, Christensen, George A. (1983) Here Lies the Supreme Court: Gravesites of the Justices, Yearbook. Supreme Court Historical Society. Christensen, George A., Here Lies the Supreme Court: Revisited, Journal of Supreme Court History, Volume 33 Issue 1, Pages 17 - 41 (19 Feb 2008), University of Alabama.

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.  
  • 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.  

External links

California Assembly
Preceded by
James Dixon, William H. Northcutt,
W. S. M. Wright
California State Assemblyman, 19th District
(Solano County seat)

Served alongside: Thomas M. Swan
Succeeded by
John T. Dare, Richard C. Haile
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Barclay Henley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Samuel G. Hilborn
Legal offices
Preceded by
Judson Harmon
Attorney General of the United States
Succeeded by
John W. Griggs
Preceded by
Lorenzo Sawyer
Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Succeeded by
William W. Morrow
Preceded by
Stephen Johnson Field
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
January 21, 1898 – January 5, 1925
Succeeded by
Harlan Fiske Stone

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