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“J” is for Johnson, William, Jr. (1771-1834)

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“J” is for Johnson, William, Jr. (1771-1834). U.S. Supreme Court justice. A native of Charleston, Johnson graduated first in his class from Princeton. He read law in Charleston and was admitted to the bar in 1793. In 1794 he was elected to the S.C. House of Representatives. In 1799 he was appointed to the South Carolina Court of General Sessions and Common Pleas. In 1804 Johnson became the first Democratic-Republican appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. During tenure on the high bench, Johnson was frequently at odds with his fellow justices. He wrote nearly half of the dissents filed during his three decades on the court and almost two-thirds of the concurrences. Committed to national integrity but sympathetic to states’ rights, William Johnson, Jr., sought to encourage cooperation between the federal and state governments.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.