Stephen Johnson Field

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Stephen Johnson Field
Former Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
From: March 10, 1863 – December 1, 1897
Nominator Abraham Lincoln
Predecessor (none)
Successor Joseph McKenna
Party Democrat
Spouse(s) Sue Virginia Field

Stephen Johnson Field (November 4, 1816 - April 9, 1899) was an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States for 34 years, 9 months.[1] President Abraham Lincoln appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1863 for his expertise in Mexican land law, which under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo remained in effect in California, and to the U.S. Supreme Court for his pro-Union (Civil War) stance.[2]

He was a conservative justice - a prime advocate of the substantive due process theory - which at the time was used to protect property rights, though in a modern sense has been used by liberals as justification for the "privacy right" on which cases such as Griswold v. Connecticut, Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood are based.[2][3] He dissented in the Slaughter-House Cases, which upheld a Louisiana law that allowed for a monopoly, and also from Munn v. Illinois, in which the majoriy affirmed that Illinois had the right to fix maximum storage rates charged by grain elevators and public warehouses.[2] Later, the rest of the Court would adopt Field's pro-free enterprise attitude.[2][4]


  1. Stephen J Field (English). Oyez. Chicago-Kent School of Law.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Stephen Johnson Field (English). law.jrank.
  3. Substantive Due Process (English). Stanford.
  4. Stephen Johnson Field (English). PBS.