The Supreme Court: Chase Court, 1864 to 1873

Chase Court, 1864 to 1873

Taney's successor, Samuel Chase, was one of the least distinguished chief justices. His legal experiences were considered by many to be that of a glorified collection agent. Most of his career was spent on building his political base. He was a former Secretary of the Treasury and the head of the new Republican Party that helped get Lincoln elected.

Chase clearly sent signals that he wanted to be president of the United States and many thought his decisions were more based on what he thought would be politically expedient rather than on legal precedent. He lost respect for himself and the role of the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Chase died while still on the court.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Supreme Court © 2004 by Lita Epstein, J.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.