Rutledge Court

The Rutledge Court refers to the Supreme Court of the United States from June 1795 to December 1795, when John Rutledge served as the second Chief Justice of the United States. Rutledge took office as a recess appointment of President George Washington to succeed John Jay. However, Rutledge was denied confirmation by the United States Senate, partly due to his attacks on the Jay Treaty.[1] Rutledge was succeeded in office by Oliver Ellsworth. This was the first time that the Senate rejected a Supreme Court nomination; it remains the only time a "recess appointed" justice was not subsequently confirmed by the Senate.

Supreme Court of the United States
Rutledge Court
August 12, 1795 – December 28, 1795
(138 days)
SeatOld City Hall
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
No. of positions6
Rutledge Court decisions

Rutledge's tenure as Chief Justice lasted for only 138 days. As a result, the court only decided a couple of cases under his leadership.


The Rutledge Court consisted of Rutledge and five Associate Justices from the Jay Court: William Cushing, James Wilson, John Blair Jr., James Iredell, and William Paterson. Blair resigned on October 25, 1795, and was subsequently replaced by Samuel Chase in February 1796.[2]


Bar key:        Washington appointee


  1. Schwartz, Bernard (1993). A History of the Supreme Court. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 27–28.
  2. "Justices 1789 to Present". Retrieved December 14, 2018.
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