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Gabriel Duvall
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Judge
    (December 6, 1752-March 6, 1844)
    Born in Prince George's County, Maryland
    Supreme Court justice 11/23/1811 - 1/12/1835
    Often referred to as the most 'insignificant' Supreme Court Justice in history
    It was written about him, 'impartial examination of Duvall's performance reveals to even the uninitiated observer that he achieved an enviable standard of insignificance against which all other justices must be measured.'
    In twenty-four years on the Supreme Court, he authored only eighteen opinions.
    He was a lawyer.
    He never attended college or law school.
    He belonged to the Whig and Democratic-Republican (no relation to the modern day Democrat or Republican parties) political parties which no longer exist.
    He stayed on the Supreme Court until a fellow Marylander was nominated to replace him. That Marylander was Roger B. Taney who as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court authored the Dred Scott decision.
    He was President James Madison's second choice for the opening on the Supreme Court after John Quincy Adams.
    Balding with a mullet, he may have had the worst hair in Supreme Court history.
    Almost all of his published Supreme Court opinions dealt with boring minutiae involving matters like bankruptcy vs insolvency, contract law, and federal customs enforcement.
    Not everyone agrees with his being the most insignificant justice in history with Thomas Todd (whom Duvall served alongside) being mentioned as an alternative.
    He held several jobs that qualified him for his position of the court including; the United States House of Representatives, the Maryland House of Representatives, Comptroller of the United States, and Chief Justice of the State of Maryland's Supreme Court.
    He served in the Revolutionary War.
    He lived to be ninety-one years old!
    He may have gone deaf by the time he joined the Supreme Court,
    His personal honesty was literally unquestioned.
    He was in general, anti-slavery and supported the rights of slaves.

Credit: tom_jeffords


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