Supreme Court

Former justices

Roujet D. Marshall (1847-1922)

Roujet D. Marshall

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice (1895-1918)

"The ideal of judicial procedure is one enabling courts to prevent and redress wrongs with the greatest possible promptness, certainty, and economy in public and private expense-fully vindicating the crowning idea of human justice, 'There is no wrong without a remedy.'" - Justice Roujet D. Marshall, presenting the Circuit Judges' Creed

Roujet DeLisle Marshall was born December 27, 1847, in Nashua, New Hampshire. In 1854, the Marshall family moved to a farm in Delton, Wisconsin. He attended Lawrence College. Because of his father's failing health, Marshall's formal education was cut short so he could manage the family farm.

Marshall studied law in Baraboo and served as justice of the peace. After admittance to the bar in 1873, Marshall formed a law partnership in Chippewa Falls. In 1876, Governor Harrison Ludington appointed Marshall judge for Chippewa County. A year later, he was elected to a four-year term.

After leaving the bench, Marshall formed a new law partnership with John J. Jenkins, a former U.S. Attorney for the Wyoming Territory. Marshall drafted many legislative bills for the lumber industry. It was said at Marshall's memorial that his success was not attributed to his personality, but to his profound understanding of the law.

His professional and civic leadership was recognized by his appointment to the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents in 1884, where he served for five years.

Marshall was elected judge for the 11th Judicial Circuit in 1888 and was re-elected in 1894. As circuit court judge in this rapidly growing district, Marshall was overworked. Almost everyday he opened court at 8 a.m. and closed around 11:30 p.m. On one occasion, attorneys on both sides of several cases conspired to ask for continuances just to give the judge rest. He was moved to tears at their sensitivity.

It was told at Marshall's memorial service that a lawyer who knew Marshall well once said: "Judge Marshall never knew or understood the need of recreation; work seemed all-sufficient to him. At the opening of a term of court, one of the prominent attorneys was away for a week of fishing. Upon being told the reason for the absence, Judge Marshall said: 'I can't understand how a full-grown man can get any pleasure out of wasting his time fishing or hunting.'"

Governor William H. Upham appointed Marshall, 48, to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1895, after the death of Chief Justice Harlow S. Orton. He was elected to the office in 1897 and re-elected in 1907. Although he was recognized as a fine jurist, he was known for having an easily flared temper. For instance, shortly before his re-election to the Supreme Court, he shouted angrily at a band playing the "Star Spangled Banner" in the Capitol rotunda. While his actions may have cost him votes, it was not enough to lose an election.

In 1911, Marshall wrote several opinions and other outside writings on personal injuries. The state Legislature enacted the Workmen's Compensation Act the same year. It was said that Marshall's writing so closely resembled the "spirit and purpose" of the new law that it would be fair to say that Marshall, in part, was its origin.

Marshall was also known for his especially long opinions, such as Harrigan v. Gilchrist which is 334 pages long and was described by Chief Justice John B. Winslow as a "compendium of legal lore."

After 22 years on the Supreme Court, Marshall stepped down in January 1918. He was married to Mary Jenkins and died May 22, 1922.

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