Jackson, Howell E. (1832–1895)

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JACKSON, HOWELL E. (1832–1895)

Howell Edmunds Jackson, a native of Tennessee, was appointed to the Supreme Court by benjamin harrison in 1893. Although a Democrat, Jackson had Whig antecedents and had long been a vigorous exponent of the "New South" creed. He led the conservative opposition to repudiation of the Tennessee debt in the 1870s and represented some of the region's most prominent corporations in his law practice. grover cleveland appointed him to a Sixth Circuit judgeship in 1886. His opinions in cases on the interstate commerce act and the sherman antitrust act underscored his solicitude for big business.

Jackson's Supreme Court career lasted about a year and a half. Poor health precluded his participation in united states v. e. c. knight co. (1895) and in re debs (1895), two of the most important cases decided during his tenure. But Jackson sat with an equally divided Court at the second hearing of pollock v. farmers loan & trust co. (1895). His eloquent dissent, in which he insisted that the invalidation of the income tax was "the most disastrous blow ever struck at the constitutional power of Congress," remains his most famous opinion. It also sparked an enduring controversy over which, if any, of the Justices switched his vote between hearings.

Charles W. Mc Curdy


Schiffman, Irving 1970 Escaping the Shroud of Anonymity: Justice Howell Edmunds Jackson and the Income Tax Case. Tennessee Law Review 37:334–348.

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Jackson, Howell E. (1832–1895)

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