Arthur nominated Horace Gray and Samuel Blatchford to the U.S. Supreme Court. Gray, former a jurist on the high court in Massachusetts, served nearly eleven years on the Court. Blatchford, a former federal district court judge and a federal appeals court judge, also served eleven years on the Court. Blatchford is the first person in American history to serve at all three levels of the federal judiciary: federal district court, federal appeals court, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
During President Arthur’s administration, Chinese immigration to the United States was becoming a political issue. The president signed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which suspended or banned further Chinese immigration to the United States for ten years. Arthur opposed the measure, but signed it for pragmatic reasons.