Charles Lee (Attorney General)

Charles Lee ( * 1758 in Westmoreland County, Virginia; † June 24, 1815 in Fauquier County, Virginia) was an American lawyer, politician and Minister of Justice ( Attorney General ).

Family, study and career

Lee comes from one of the most influential families of Virginia planters. Like his father, Henry Lee was also his older brother Henry " Light Horse Harry " Lee General and later Governor of Virginia. Another brother, Richard Bland Lee, was a member of the House of Representatives. The brothers were also cousins ​​of the third degree of the future President Zachary Taylor. In his first marriage he was with his cousin Anne, daughter of the sixth President of the Continental Congress, Richard Henry Lee, married.

Lee initially completed a general education studies at the College of New Jersey, which he finished in 1775 with a Bachelor of Arts. He then studied law in the office of the unsuccessful 1812 candidate for vice-president, Jared Ingersoll, which he finished in 1780. However, between 1777 and 1787 he worked mainly as a naval officer on the Potomac River.

As a lawyer, he was an early advocate of the return of the southern part of the District of Columbia to Virginia, but this was not completed until 1847.

Minister of Justice under President Washington and later offices

From 1789 to 1793, he was at the request of George Washington Harbour Master of Alexandria. The following year he became a deputy in the House of Representatives from Virginia, where he remained until 1795.

After the death of William Bradford on August 23, 1795 U.S. President Washington appointed him on December 10, 1795 Attorney General in his cabinet. This office he held under Washington's successor, John Adams until the end of his term of office on 19 February 1801.

After his resignation as Minister of Justice, he was at least one year working as a judge in a district court, before he settled down as a lawyer. As a lawyer, he represented multiple parties in proceedings before the Supreme Court of the United States. The decision of the Supreme Court of the United States of 24 February 1803 case Marbury v. Madison in American jurisprudence is of outstanding importance. With this decision, the Supreme Court stated the right to review federal laws on their constitutionality and those annul ( Judicial Review). In the process of United States v. Burr, he defended the former Vice President Aaron Burr in the Supreme Court in 1807 Burr was charged with treason in connection with the attempt to create an independent state in the Spanish part of North America. However, for lack of evidence Burr was released.

Later he became Harbour Master (Port Officer ), after he had refused the offer of President Thomas Jefferson to assume a judgeship on the United States Supreme Court of the district of the Potomac River.