William R. Day

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William Rufus Day
Former Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
From: February 23, 1903 – November 13, 1922
Nominator Theodore Roosevelt
Predecessor George Shiras, Jr.
Successor Pierce Butler
36th United States Secretary of State
From: April 28, 1898 – September 16, 1898
President William McKinley
Predecessor John Sherman
Successor John Hay
Party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Elizabeth Schaefer
Religion Lutheran

William Rufus Day was a politician and jurist from Ohio. He helmed the United States Peace Commission to sign the 1898 Treaty of Paris - which ended the Spanish-American War. As a member of the United States Supreme Court, Day wrote 439 opinions - only 18 of which were dissents: these opinions advanced state power and generally sided with antitrust laws.[1] He also sided with the government in the Standard Oil, American Tobacco, and both Union Pacific cases. He sided against government in Hammer v. Dagenhart - which ruled that the federal government could not use the Commerce Clause to regulate labor conditions, in this case a child labor law.[2] This decision would be overturned by United States v. Darby Lumber Co.

Day dissented in Lochner v. New York - the case that began the "Lochner Era" - arguing that the federal government could promote public welfare over liberty of contract. Day also wrote the opinion for the exclusionary rule in Weeks v. United States - saying that the 4th Amendment barred evidence seized illegally from being admitted at trial.[2]


  1. William Rufus Day (April 17, 1849 - July 9, 1923) (English). The Ohio Judicial Center.
  2. 2.0 2.1 William Rufus Day (English). law.jrank.