Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Supreme Court Precedent Involves Great President

Image of former Ohio Supreme Court Justice John McLean

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice John McLean.

Image of former Ohio Supreme Court Justice John McLean

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice John McLean.

An 1800s Ohio Supreme Court justice ran for his party’s nomination against one of the U.S. presidents we celebrate on Presidents Day.

John McLean served on the Ohio Supreme Court from February 20, 1816 to November 1, 1822. He later served for more than 31 years on the U.S. Supreme Court until his death on April 4, 1861.

According to his official Ohio Supreme Court biography, he “harbored ambitions” all his life to become president. “In 1848, he sought the Whig Party’s nomination for the presidency, but was defeated by Gen. Zachary Taylor. He (McLean) received votes for the Republican Party’s nomination at the 1856 and 1860 conventions.”

In 1856, McLean received the second most votes for president among the Republican candidates while Abraham Lincoln received the second most votes for vice president. John C. Fremont and William L. Dayton received the Republican Party’s nomination that year for president and vice president. Of course, Lincoln was the Republican Party’s eventual nominee in 1860, but McLean received votes during each round of balloting at that year’s national convention.

McLean, who also served as the sixth U.S. Postmaster General and as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, is one of nine U.S. Supreme Court justices represented in an Ohio government leader hall of fame at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center. His bronze portrait hangs on the east wall of the two-story Grand Concourse in the building.

Other Ohio Supreme Court justices’ bios are available on the Supreme Court website. To schedule a tour of the Moyer Judicial Center to see McLean’s portrait or others of past great Ohioans, call 614.387.9223 or e-mail courttours@sc.ohio.gov.

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