Justice General MacGregor (1916)
11th Justice General of the Federal Union
December 26, 1915 - July 12, 1933
Appointed by: John Carroway
Preceded by: Archibald Ancroft
Succeeded by: Cristobal Reid
1901 - 1913
1897 - 1901
President: William MacKintail
Born: May 21, 1851
Dyrewall, Roonmore province
Died: October 8, 1937 (aged 86)
Valecarra, Adashawnee province
MacGregor held office during some of the most tense and chaotic years in Almorean history. Conservative by nature, he successfully struck a centrist posture during his years as a politician but was unable to do so as Justice General. He attempted to preserve political support for the Supreme Court during the 1920s by aligning with rightwing parties, but was ultimately discredited after a liberal reaction in 1933 and forced to resign. MacGregor is considered a below-average Justice General.
John Waltham MacGregor was born on May 21, 1851, in Dyrewall, Roonmore province, the son of Silas MacGregor (1820 - 1898), a local Federalist politician, and Mildred Newcomb (1822 - 1891). In 1861, his family moved to Valesavan, where his father became an official in the Confederal Union's treasury during the War of Disunion. In May 1863, MacGregor enlisted as a drummer boy for the 77th Picket Company, 41st (Roonmore) Infantry Regiment. He never saw combat, and only served in the confederal army for two months, until the surrender of Governor Henry Yaddow to federal forces in July.
After the war, MacGregor's family was ruined financially by harsh anti-secessionist laws passed by Congress. As a teenager, MacGregor worked on the Valesavan-Faxon Railroad, and helped to build telegraph poles and string wires for federal wages. In 1872, he began working as a clerk at a bank in Bennburgh, and saved enough money to enroll at Sheridan College, a private school in Valesavan, where he studied law for three years. After completing further studies on a scholarship to King's College, MacGregor was admitted to the bar in 1878.
In 1880, MacGregor was elected solicitor for the sheriffs' court of Bennburgh County, beginning his career as a local politician. As a staunch "Roonmore Federalist", MacGregor adhered to a platform that favored high tariffs to protect wheat and maize farmers, subsidies for transportation infrastructure to ship grain, and strong state support for the National Church. He was elected judge of Bennburgh County in 1885. In 1887, MacGregor was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Roonmore House of Representatives. After winning election to a full term, he served in the provincial legislature until 1893.
While sitting in the Roonmore legislature, MacGregor attacked labor unions, communists, and foreign immigration. After leaving the House of Representatives in 1893, MacGregor began to cultivate a profile among the national Federal Party. He worked in Congress as a lobbyist for the Almorean Oil Consortium, and attended the 1896 Federalist National Convention as a delegate from Roonmore. MacGregor supported the nomination of William MacKintail, a senator from Baranor, who went on to win the presidency in December.
In March 1897, MacGregor became deputy solicitor general in the new MacKintail administration. After Attorney General Herbert Forsyth died in October, the president nominated MacGregor in his place. After enduring a contentious confirmation hearing, he was sworn in on October 31, 1897. In 1898, MacGregor was responsible for prosecuting officials of the War Department, who were charged with taking illegal bribes from shipbuilding companies. His face appeared constantly in the newspapers, and he became a well-known figure across his home province. MacGregor's mind began to focus on a return to politics. He was elected to the Senate to represent Roonmore in 1900, and resigned as Attorney General to take office as senator in February 1901.
Drawing on his experience as a lobbyist and public prosecutor, MacGregor carved out a successful career in the Senate. Running as a Federalist in a "safe" district, he was re-elected in 1904 and 1908. He supported efforts to censure President William Walter Gates in late 1903, over his prosecution of former Federalist officials. Although he considered a campaign for governor of Roonmore in 1904, MacGregor chose another Senate term instead. After Gates' deputy, Edward P. Norton, assumed the presidency in 1906 and announced plans for high tariffs and anti-inflation measures, MacGregor became known as a moderate figure who could bridge Federalists and Nationalists.
In January 1909, MacGregor submitted himself as a replacement for Federalist presidential candidate William Pinne, who had died of a heart attack, but his hopes were disappointed. In his last Senate term, MacGregor attempted to alleviate damage to the Roonmore commodities market, which had suffered a severe shock in the Panic of 1910. He decided not to run for a fourth Senate term in the legislative elections of 1912. At the 1914 Federalist National Convention, MacGregor's name was floated as a possible nominee for deputy president, but he ultimately lost out to Benjamin Shearer, who would appeal more to coastal voting blocs.
After the Federalist nominee, Roonmore representative John Carroway, won the election, MacGregor was hopeful for a Cabinet position. When Justice General Archibald Ancroft retired after disputes with Carroway in November 1915, the president unexpectedly nominated MacGregor to succeed him. The Federalist-majority Senate confirmed MacGregor in a 21-12 vote, and he was sworn in as Justice General on December 26, 1915.
During MacGregor's first years as Justice General, Almorea was wracked by political and economic turmoil. The War of the Contested Crown, fought from 1915 to 1917, drained public confidence in the government. Beginning in 1918, a widespread economic crisis led to a breakdown of public order, amidst spiraling unemployment and long bread lines. MacGregor supported the state of emergency declared by President Carroway in May of that year, and led the Supreme Court to vote in favor of the administration in Hinckley vs. Federal Union, when federal agents were sued for plowing into a crowd of rioters with an armored car. MacGregor maintained friendly relations with Edward P. Norton, who was returned to the presidency in 1920 as leader of the liberal Almorean Party (AMP). In 1921, the Supreme Court struck down a challenge to the Adderson Amendment, recently passed to give suffrage to all Almorean women of voting age.
In December 1921, MacGregor laid the foundation stone for a new Supreme Court building in Ellsburgh. In April 1922, he supported the Norton administration in Steele vs. Department of the Treasury, after rightist congressman Aurian Steele sued the government over the breaking national debt limit. The intense public reaction against the Supreme Court's decision, led by Steele himself, frightened MacGregor and influenced him to begin following public opinion more closely. The independence and integrity of the Supreme Court was seen to suffer during the 1920s as a result. In 1924, after Steele had been elected governor of Roonmore, MacGregor declined to intervene against his nationalization of provincial banks. When the Almorean military intervened to stabilize the government's finances in the spring of 1925, MacGregor lent legitimacy to their action by appearing at negotiations between President Norton and the leading generals in Nockarsh. By 1926, the Justice General was largely powerless to stop Almorea's slide into armed conflict between the fascist faction and the government.
After street battles in Ellsburgh in March and May 1926, MacGregor supported Roonmore governor Steele's move to strip President Norton from power. He duly swore in Steele as the 26th President in February 1927 after an undemocratic election. During the Steele presidency, MacGregor and the Supreme Court were largely sidelined. They were forced to acquiesce to Steele's execution of military leaders in 1928 and his assassination of separatists in Gray Hills province and the Kumal hangate in 1929. MacGregor supported Steele in order to preserve his own position as Justice General. After the president's assassination in January 1931, MacGregor swore in Kirk Price as his successor. When Price passed the Nine Acts later that year, restricting public freedoms and declaring quasi-martial law, the eighty year-old Justice General once again declined to protest.
By late 1932, with Congress set to decide the presidential election between Price and the AMP, MacGregor sensed that the president's political grip was weakening. Once the Chamber of Representatives proved slow in its deliberations, however, Price adjourned the legislature in February 1933 and looked to the Supreme Court for support. MacGregor reluctantly led a 6-4 decision allowing Price to remain in office until the election could be properly decided. This action sealed his fate. Price was overthrown by the military in May 1933, and Congress chose Chamber leader Joseph C. Bell as the new president. When MacGregor arrived at the Palace of Congress to swear Bell in as the 28th President, he was turned away. The Justice General was irreparably stained by the Steele years. MacGregor complied with President Bell's request for his resignation on July 12, 1933, and left Ellsburgh after a judicial tenure of almost twenty years.
After his resignation, MacGregor lived in a ten-room brownhouse in Harrison Square, Valecarra, where he was troubled by rheumatism and failing eyesight. Despite his political disgrace, he remained a respected figure in society, and accepted occasional invitations to dinner parties. In 1936, on the occasion of his eighty-fifth birthday, he travelled by plane to Valesavan and presided at the annual convention of the Society of Confederal Veterans, joining the dwindling band of elderly men who had fought in the War of Disunion.
MacGregor suffered a stroke in January 1937 that left him mostly incoherent and bedridden. He died of complications from this stroke in his home in Valecarra on October 8, 1937, aged eighty-six. In 1946, during the Imperial War, his tomb was destroyed when the city's Church of St. James the Great was attacked by Magarati warplanes.