Horace Gray - Encyclopedia




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HORACE GRAY (1828-1902), American jurist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on the 24th of March 1828. He graduated at Harvard in 1845; was admitted to the bar in 1851, and in1854-1861was reporter to the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. He practised law, first in partnership with Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar, and later with Wilder Dwight (1823-1862) and Charles F. Blake; was appointed associate justice of the state Supreme Court on the 23rd of August 1864, becoming chief-justice on the 5th of September 1873; and was associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from December 1881 to August 1902, resigning only a few weeks before his death at Nahant, Mass ., on the 15th of September 1902. Gray had a fine sense of the dignity of the bench, and a taste for historical study. His judgments were unmistakably clear and contained the essence of earlier opinions. A great case lawyer, he was a much greater judge, the variety of his knowledge and his contributions to admiralty and prize law and to testamentary law being particularly striking; in constitutional law he was a "loose" rather than a "strict" constructionist.

See Francis C. Lowell, "Horace Gray," in Proceedings of the American Academy, vol. 39, pp. 627-637 (Boston, 1904).

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