Rutledge, the family name of two brothers who were active in government affairs in the early days of the United States. Both were born in Charleston, South Carolina.

John Rutledge

(1739–1800), a jurist and statesman, was the second chief justice of the United States. Rutledge studied law in London and was called to the English bar in 1760. On his return to South Carolina he entered the colonial assembly. Rutledge was a member of the Stamp Act Congress in 1765, and of both Continental Congresses. He was governor of South Carolina, 1779–82, fighting the British even after Charleston surrendered. From 1784 to 1789 he was a member of the state legislature.

As a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Rutledge urged that wealth be part of the basis of representation in Congress, and he opposed restricting the slave trade. Rutledge was an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1790–91, and chief justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, 1791–95. President Washington appointed him to succeed John Jay as chief justice of the United States. Rutledge served less than a year, however; the Senate refused to confirm the appointment because, like other Southerners, he opposed the Jay Treaty with Great Britain.

Edward Rutledge

(1749–1800) was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He studied law in London and was called to the English bar in 1772. He was a representative to the Continental Congress, 1774–76. In 1776 Rutledge joined the state militia as a captain of artillery. He was captured in the fall of Charleston, 1780, and was not released until the next year. From 1782 to 1798 Rutledge served in the state legislature, then was elected governor of South Carolina. He died in office.