The Chief Justice from Maine You’ve Never Heard Of

Veteran Maine journalist Douglas Rooks, whose authoritative and widely read political column is published in four daily newspapers, takes on an intriguing historical question in his fourth book, Calm Command:

Why is the most important judge Maine has ever produced so little known today?

Rooks delves into the U.S. Supreme Court archives, original letters and rare documents to produce a portrait of Melville Weston Fuller sharply varying from popular perceptions.

Through the first full-length biography in three generations, Fuller emerges as a humane and disciplined figure. Full of fresh details and surprising facts, Calm Command depicts a strong progressive streak in our third-longest-serving Chief Justice, with concern for death row inmates, victims of lynching, and citizens of Spanish-speaking territories like Puerto Rico, who despite his best efforts are still condemned to second-class citizenship.

Melville Fuller helped create the U.S. Courts of Appeal, pioneered American involvement in international arbitration, and as an attorney won the case creating a “public trust” for America’s waterfronts, beaches and harbors.

The dramatic events of his times, including strikes, the rise of industrial capitalism and imperialistic wars are given extended treatment.

“Comprehensive and balanced.”

—Daniel Wathen, Retired Maine Chief Justice

“Rooks has given us a great book.”

—Paul Mills, Historian

Available in elegantly printed hardcover and softcover editions.

Calm Command:
U.S. Chief Justice Melville Fuller in His Times, 1888-1910



About the Author

Douglas Rooks, a lifelong journalist, has been an editor at three Maine and New Hampshire daily and weekly newspapers, and an opinion columnist for more than 40 years. His three previous books are Statesman: George Mitchell and the Art of the Possible; Rise, Decline and Renewal: The Democratic Party in Maine; and First Franco: Albert Beliveau in Law, Politics, and Love.