Stephen Johnson Field

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Stephen Johnson Field

Stephen Johnson Field (November 4, 1816April 9, 1899) was an American jurist. He was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from May 20, 1863, to December 1, 1897. Prior to this, he was the 5th Chief Justice of California.


  • The Constitution deals with substance, not shadows.
    • Cummings v. State of Missouri, 71 U. S. 277, 325 (1866).
  • The present assault on capital is but the beginning. It will be but the stepping-stone to others, larger and more sweeping, till our political contests will become a war of the poor against the rich—a war constantly growing in intensity and bitterness.
  • When judges shall be obliged to go armed, it will be time for the courts to be closed.
    • Said while travelling to California, having been advised to arm himself while there (1889); reported in J.K. Hoyt, The Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (1896), p. 129.

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