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Melville Weston Fuller
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U.S. Chief Justice
    (February 11, 1833-July 4, 1910)
    Served one term in this Illinois House of Representatives
    8th Chief Justice of the United States (October 8, 1888-July 4, 1910)
    Landmark cases include 'Sparf & Hansen v. United States (1895),' 'Coffin v. U.S. (1895),' 'Plessy v. Ferguson (1898),' 'Lochner v. New York (1905)' and 'Twining v. New Jersey (1908)'
    He was confirmed reluctantly by the Senate, since this was little known about him.
    He had no national fame prior to being selected Chief Justice.
    He looked like Mark Twain.
    His time on the bench saw many infamous decisions enacted and very little social reform.
    His court refused to regulate business whenever it could.
    One observer described his court as 'a body dominated by fear; fear of populists, of socialists, and communists, of numbers, of minorities and democracy.'
    There was a revolving door on his court, with many justices leaving after a short amount of service.
    Only one justice (John Marshal Harlan) served with him throughout his Chief Justice career.
    In an 8-1 decision, his court created the 'separate but equal' doctrine (Plessy v. Ferguson, 1898).
    He wrote poetry.
    He was so short (5'1) that his seat had to be elevated and he used a hassock to keep his feet from dangling.
    He was respected by his colleagues for his talent of dealing with the independent minds of his justices. He prevented many personal feuds on the bench.
    His court paid close attention to the property clauses in the U.S. Constitution and ruled with those in mind.
    He wrote 840 majority opinions, making him the fifth most productive writer in Supreme Court history.
    He presided over the only criminal trial in the Supreme Court's history (the trial of Sheriff Joseph Shippe).
    His court was popular with the people (well, except for any politically active minority).
    He ruled that income tax was unconstitutional (it was unfortunately reinstated by the 16th amendment).
    He died on the fourth of July (1910).

Credit: Captain Howdy

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