The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899 Page: 7
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Oran Milo Roberts.
trines, and all the leading men )of the State arrayed themselves
upon the paramount issues that were beginning to alarm the South
for her liberties and her life. Judge Roberts, true to his South
Carolina parentage an'd his Alabama training, was a staunch and
formidable advocate of the strict construction of the Federal Con-
stitution, the reserved rights of the States, and the inviolable sanc-
tity of their domestic institutions. In 1853 he was a candidate for
the Democratic nomination for Congress in the Eastern district,
his opponent being William C. Young, of Red River County. For
two days of balloting he came within a few votes of two-thirds of
the convention, when George W. Smith was nominated as a com-
promise candidate. 'In the exciting State campaign of 1855, when
the "American" or "Know-nothing" party made its struggle for
supremacy in Texas, in alliance with so-called "Union Democrats,"
he took an active part in *opposition to that movement, in com-
pany with such men as Pinckney 'Henderson, Frank Bowden, Mal-
coalm D. Graham, Louis T. Wigfall, John H. Reagan, George W.
Chilton, and M. D. Ector.
In the fall of 1856, Abner S. Lipscomb, associate justice of the
Supreme Court, 'died, and an election to fill the vacancy thus
created was held in the following February. The leading candi-
dates were Peter W. Gray, Thomas J. Jennings, Benjamin C.
Franklin, John Taylor and Oran M. Roberts. These gentlemen
were not urged 'or nominated by any political organization, but
were put forward by the bar and the people in the localities where
they lived. It was a very close race between Judges Gray and
Roberts, the latter being elected by only one hundred votes over
his leading opponent. Judge Roberts at once assumed his place
on the Supreme bench, and there he first exhibited that marvel-
ous capacity for analysis, discussionn of facts, 'and the complete evis-
ceration of a case-body, bones, and tissue-that have made his de-
cisions such lasting monuments of judicial learning and practical
On November 9, 1857, Judge John Hemphill, the Chief Justice
of the court, was elected to the United 'States Senate, creating an-
other vacancy. It was the universal desire that Judge Wheeler,
who was already an associate justice since the organization of the
court, should succeed to the chief-justiceship, but he was averse
to being a candidate before a political convention, by which method
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899, periodical, 1898/1899; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101011/m1/11/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.