Judge John M. Read

On this date in 1874, Judge John M. Read died at his home in Philadephia, PA. John Read was born in Philadelphia on July 21, 1797 just across the street from Independence Hall. Educated at the University of Pennsylvania, he then read the law, and was admitted to the bar in 1818. While in private practice in Philadelphia, Read entered politics. He served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1822-24) and on the Philadephia City Council and later as the city solicitor. From 1837 to 1841, Read served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. On February 7, 1844, John Read was nominated as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court by President John Tyler for the seat held by Justice Henry Baldwin, who had passed away the April before. President Tyler had a difficult and hostile relationship with the U.S. Senate–of the six nominations he made to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court only one was successful. With only a month left on President Tyler’s term when Read was nominated and having held anti-slavery beliefs in the past, Read stood no chance of being approved by the Senate and his nomination was never acted upon and eventually withdrawn. Read went on to serve as Pennsylvania Attorney General later that year for a short time period. In 1858, Read won election to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Read eventually became Chief Justice of the Pennyslvania Supreme Court for about a year before his retirement in 1872.