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Joseph Story

Joseph Story was an American jurist, who served on the U.S. Supreme Court as an associate justice and also on the law faculty of his alma mater, Harvard. Born on September 18, 1779, in Marblehead, Massachusetts, Story graduated from Harvard in 1798 and after studying law while working in law offices, opened his own practice in Salem in 1801. He served in the Massachusetts legislature for three annual sessions (1805-1807), followed by a two-year term in Congress, and then again in the Massachusetts legislature, where he served as speaker in 1811. His party affiliation was Jacksonian Republican-Democrat. President James Madison appointed him an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. At age 32, he was the youngest person ever appointed to that court. He served until his death and while in the shadow of the great John Marshall, the Chief Justice, Story nevertheless contributed a great many opinions in the court's early years. In 1816, he rendered the opinion in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, which established the supremacy of the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction over state courts in cases that involved the United States Constitution. He also wrote the opinion sanctioning the court's right of judicial reviews in the 1827 case Martin v. Mott. For many years, associate justices were also assigned a circuit, and Story covered New England. In the aftermath of the War of 1812, many cases concerning admiralty and prize law arose, and Story emphatically ruled that the federal courts had jurisdiction in admiralty cases. When John Marshall died in 1835, many assumed that Story would succeed him as Chief Justice, but President Jackson instead named Roger B. Taney to the position. In 1829, Story became the first Dane professor at Harvard Law School, and held the seat until his death. An able teacher, he published many learned works on the law. Story died in Cambridge, Massachusets, on September 10, 1845.