Served on the Iowa Supreme Court as Chief Justice for one year from January 26, 1848, to January 14, 1849, succeeding Justice Joseph Williams who then succeeded him.
Born in Jefferson County, New York, in 1814. He came to Burlington in 1837 and was elected a member of the House of Representatives of the First and Second Iowa Territorial General Assemblies and a member of the Legislative Council of the Third, Fourth, Seventh, and Eighth Territorial Assembles. Served one term as Speaker of the House and one term as President of the Council, a position analogous to that now held by the Lieutenant Governor. He was the first representative in the Congress of the United States from the new State of Iowa.
Justice Hastings moved to California in 1849, in which state he was elected Attorney General and later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He established and endowed the Hastings Law School at the University of California.
Justice Hastings died in San Francisco in 1893.