About Howell Edmonds Jackson

Howell Edmunds Jackson served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1893 until his death in 1895. Born in Paris, Tennessee, in 1832, Jackson earned his law degree from Cumberland Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1856. He practiced law in Jackson, Tennessee, before moving to Memphis. He was elected to a seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1880. When the state legislature was deadlocked over the selection of a United States Senator, Jackson was selected as the consensus candidate, receiving bipartisan support. 

In 1886, Jackson was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit by President Grover Cleveland. After President Benjamin Harrison lost reelection, Supreme Court Justice Lucius Q. C. Lamar died. Harrison wanted to nominate a Republican to replace Lamar, but he knew that a Republican would likely get stalled by the Democrats in the Senate. He chose Jackson as the replacement. Jackson was unanimously confirmed just before Harrison left office. 

Not long after assuming office, Jackson developed tuberculosis. This prevent him from playing a major role in many Supreme Court decisions. He authored only forty-six opinions, many of them being in patent or insignificant cases. Jackson left Washington hoping that a better climate would aid his health. However, with the remaining eight justices were deadlocked in the Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. decision, Jackson returned to Washington to cast the deciding vote. In a bizarre turn of events, Jackson is best known for authoring the dissenting opinion in Pollock after another justice changed his vote. 

Jackson remains the only Justice of the Supreme Court born in rural West Tennessee.