John McLean was born in Morris County, New Jersey, on March 3, 1785, and received little formal education in his youth. During the early 1800s, he studied law under Arthur St. Clair, Jr., and in 1807 he began a legal practice in Lebanon, Ohio. McLean won a seat in Congress in 1812 and was elected to the Ohio Supreme Court in 1816; he served until 1822, when James Monroe appointed him commissioner of the Public Land Office and postmaster general. Andrew Jackson named McLean to the United States Supreme Court in 1829, and he served concurrently as a justice on the Seventh Circuit. McLean's most famous published decision is his dissent for Dred Scott v. Sanford . He remained politically prominent throughout his time on the Supreme Court and the Whig, Free Soil, and Republican parties all considered him for presidential nominations. McLean married his first wife, Rebecca Edwards, on March 20, 1807, and his second wife, Sarah Bella Garrard, on March 2, 1843, and had seven children. John Mclean died on April 3, 1861.