David O. Stewart
Born: April 2, 1951
David O. Stewart is an American lawyer-turned-author who writes historical narratives and lives in Garrett Park, Maryland. His books include Madison's Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America; The Lincoln Deception; American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America, Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy, and The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution.
Stewart grew up in Albany and Staten Island in New York, then graduated from Yale College in 1973. After covering the New York Legislature for the Staten Island Advance, he attended Yale Law School, graduating in 1978. Stewart was law clerk to Associate Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. of the United States Supreme Court during October Term, 1979, after working as law clerk for two appellate judges, J. Skelly Wright and David L. Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
He practiced law with Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin in Washington, D.C., for nine years, concentrating on white-collar criminal defense, constitutional litigation, and appellate work, and then joined the Washington office of Ropes & Gray, LLP, in 1989 to begin a litigation group there. He handled jury trials and dozens of appeals, plus presented argument in two cases before the Supreme Court. In 1989, he was principal defense counsel for U.S. District Judge Walter L. Nixon, Jr. of Biloxi, Mississippi, in an impeachment trial before the United States Senate. He left the practice of law in January 2015.
For ten years, Stewart wrote the monthly "Supreme Court Report" for the American Bar Association Journal. He is married to Montgomery County Councilor Nancy Floreen.
His first book, The Summer of 1787, examines the creation of the United States Constitution, and grows out of his own experience as a constitutional lawyer. Stewart's experience in defending a Senate impeachment trial provided the spur to write about the first presidential impeachment in Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy (2009). In American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America (2011), he explored another key legal battle in American history, the treason trial of former Vice President Aaron Burr for planning a private invasion of Spanish lands in North America and inviting the secession of America's Western territories. In February 2015, Simon & Schuster released Stewart's next nonfiction book, Madison's Gift: Five Partnerships that Built America.
In September 2013, Kensington Books published his first novel, The Lincoln Deception, which explores the secrets of the John Wilkes Booth Conspiracy. A sequel, Wilson Deception, is set at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, and will be released on September 29, 2015.
As part of trying to shed new light on history, Stewart has challenged previous views: for instance, Impeached counters the view, once best known from Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy and Theodore Sorenson, that the acquittal of Andrew Johnson was a triumph of bravery over politicking. Stewart has countered this view with evidence, some of which had come out in hearings under Representative Benjamin Butler soon after the acquittal, that senators had been led to vote to acquit by offers of patronage and money.
Stewart continues to practice law on a part-time basis and also writes occasional short articles in such places as Politico NPR, and Smithsonian.
His short story "When They Did It" appeared in New Millennium Writings (2004-2005).
Stewart is president of the Washington Independent Review of Books, an online publication for new book reviews and related content. Since its launch in February 2011, The Independent has published more than 1,000 book reviews and more than 400 feature pieces.