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Mississippi v. Johnson

Salmon Portland Chase

Salmon Portland Chase (1808-73), sixth chief justice of the Supreme Court, served on the Court at the height of the Reconstruction Era, from 1864 to 1873. He presided over pivotal cases such as Mississippi v. Johnson (1866), Ex Parte Milligan (1866), the Test-Oath Cases (1867), and the Slaughterhouse Cases (1873).

An opponent of slavery, Chase gained a reputation as a defender of runaway slaves in his Cincinnati law practice. He ran for the Senate with the Free-Soil Party in 1848 and became known as a leading anti-slavery senator, outspoken in his opposition to the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act. In 1855 Chase, who helped form the Republican Party, became governor of Ohio. In 1860 Chase, then back in the Senate, sought the presidency. But when Abraham Lincoln emerged as the party favorite, he accepted a position as secretary of the treasury. Chase ran against Lincoln in the 1864 elections, months after he resigned his Cabinet post. Lincoln nominated Chase as chief justice in 1864. Initially opposing the radical Republicans and advocating a moderate approach toward the former Confederacy, Chase upheld the powers of Congress and the principles of the Reconstruction in cases such as Texas v. White (1868).

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1833 to 1882Mississippi v. Johnson - Significance, The Case Against Johnson And The Reconstruction Act, The Court Says No, Salmon Portland Chase