Mr. Taft Rehabilitates the Court

Yale Law JournalĀ 79, no. 1 (November 1969).


Mr. Justice David Josiah Brewer died in March, 1910, after twenty years of service on the Supreme Court. On May 31, 1910, in accordance with a custom almost uniformly observed, there were proceedings in his memory in open court. It was the last day of the October Term, 1909. Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller, who had preceded Brewer on the bench by no more than a year and a half, opened his response to a eulogy by Attorney General George W. Wickersham as follows: During the years of my occupancy of a seat upon this Bench it has been my sad duty to accept for the Court tributes of the Bar in memory of many members of this tribunal who have passed to their reward. As our brother Brewer joins the great procession, there pass before me the forms of Matthews and Miller, of Field and Bradley and Lamar and Blatchford, of Jackson and Gray and of Peckham, whose works follow them now that they rest from their labors. All excellent, illustrious men, though quite different from each other, Fuller continued. Very briefly he dwelt on Brewer, “one of the most lovable of them all,” on death and the hereafter, on Brewer’s eloquence and on his humor, which, like Mr. Lincoln’s, served to lighten the load.

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