Justice John MacCrate was born on March 29, 1885 in Dumbarton, Scotland, the son of a blacksmith. The family immigrated to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York in 1893. There MacCrate attended public schools, eventually graduating from the Commercial High School in Brooklyn and from New York University Law School in 1906. MacCrate was admitted to the bar that year and began practicing law in New York City. In 1916 and 1920, he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention. He served one term in the United States House of Representatives, from 1919 to 1920, then resigned in order to run for the Supreme Court.
MacCrate was only 35 years old when he won election to the New York State Supreme Court for the Second Judicial District in 1920. Despite urging from the Republican party, in 1928 he declined to run for Governor of New York, preferring to remain on the bench. In 1948, MacCrate was designated to the Appellate Division, Second Department. He retired from the bench when he reached the mandatory retirement age in 1955. He continued to served as an official referee for the Supreme Court from 1956 until 1958.
He married Flora MacNicoll in 1911 and following her death, married Dorothy Guirke Scott in 1964. He had two sons, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He died on June 9, 1976 in Brooklyn at the age of 91.
"John MacCrate, Sat 35 Years on New York Supreme Court." New York Times (1923-Current file): 86. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008). Jun 11 1976. Web. 15 May 2012.
"MacCrate, John - Biographical Information." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Web. 15 May 2012. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=M000002.