King, Edward

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King, Edward

Edward King was a lawyer whose 1844 nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court failed because of political animosity between Congress and the president who proposed him.

King was born January 31, 1794, in Philadelphia. He was well educated and studied law under the prominent Pennsylvania lawyer Charles Chauncey. He was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1816 and soon after entered politics, first as a Federalist and then as a Democrat. Before he was thirty years old, he had established himself as a leader of the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania.

King became clerk of the Philadelphia orphans' court in 1824. The following year, he was named president judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. He was a highly respected jurist who did more to establish Pennsylvania's Equity courts than did all the other judges of the state. Equity courts provided a necessary alternative for petitioners whose claims did not fit into the strictly prescribed rules of the common-law or common-pleas courts. Litigants seeking nonmonetary damages, such as an Injunction or Specific Performance of a contract, were without remedy before the establishment of equity jurisdiction.

About the time King was rising to national prominence on the strength of his judicial reputation, the federal government was in flux. Many southern Democrats had become disenchanted with President Andrew Jackson and his policies, which they claimed eroded States' Rights and led to the economic depression that followed his administration. In 1840, the newly formed Whig Party, born of the South's alienation from Jackson, named william h. harrison and John Tyler as its candidates for president and vice president, respectively. Harrison won the election; one month after his inauguration, he died, and Tyler ascended to the presidency.

Tyler, who had originally been a Democrat, lacked strong congressional support from either the Democrats or the Whigs. When he nominated King to the Supreme Court on June 5, 1844, the Senate voted to postpone consideration of the proposal. Tyler reappointed King on December 4; in January 1845, the Senate again tabled the nomination. Finally, Tyler withdrew King's nomination on February 7.

King continued as president judge in the common-pleas court until his retirement from the judiciary in 1852. Shortly afterward, he was appointed by Pennsylvania's governor to a commission to revise the state's criminal code. The revision, written mainly by King and then reported to the legislature, was adopted almost literally as prepared.

King spent the remaining years of his life traveling and studying. He was a member of the American Philosophical Society and for many years was president of the Board of Directors of Jefferson Medical College. He died in his hometown of Philadelphia on May 8, 1873.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Old Edward King was small of stature and when he passed people in the street laughed a queer un- mirthful laugh.
Old Edward King walked nervously about, scratching his left elbow with his right hand.
There had been an oath, the nervous giggle of old Edward King, and then silence.
Tom King laughed good naturedly and the shiv- ery, nervous laugh of Edward King rang through the house.
In the room there was silence and then again old Edward King laughed nervously.
'Lycidas' is one of the supreme English elegies; though the grief which helps to create its power sprang more from the recent death of the poet's mother than from that of the nominal subject, his college acquaintance, Edward King, and though in the hands of a lesser artist the solemn denunciation of the false leaders of the English Church might not have been wrought into so fine a harmony with the pastoral form.
Edward King gave up his Filipino-American force to Gen.
Former PAGCOR Senior Vice President Edward King filed a motion for leave to travel abroad, explaining that he was going to visit his ailing mother who presently resides in San Jose, California.
Even if it means making a deal with the despicable Senator Edward King. And when Stevie finally returns, she also returns to David: the guy she kissed, and the guy who lied about his identity -Edward King's son.
To further complicate matters, Stevie has made a deal with corrupt Senator Edward King to keep tabs on his son, David, the boy with whom she shares a burgeoning romance.
The Director of Information in the Ministry of Information and Communications Edward King on the behalf of his Minister said the ministry has come a long way with partners to ensure the commission is what it is today.