• The Amendments Project

Meet Justice James Wilson

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

Appointed by George Washington, to the U.S. Supreme Court, James Wilson was one of the courts six original appointees. Wilson was an American statesmen, politician, legal scholar, and Founding Father who served as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1789 to 1798.

James Wilson famously stated.

"Government, in my humble opinion, should be formed to secure and to enlarge the exercise of the natural rights of its members; and every government, which has not this in view, as its principal object, is not a government of the legitimate kind."

Wilson is best known for his roles in at the Convention in drafting the Constitution’s Preamble, helping to frame both the presidency and judiciary, including the Electoral College and in crafting the Three-Fifths Compromise. He also influenced Thomas Jefferson’s famous promises in the Declaration of Independence.

Wilson also was one of the first six justices on the Supreme Court and his “Lectures on Law” helped lay the foundation for American legal principles,.

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