The "Three Musketeers" was the nickname given to three liberal members during the 1932–37 terms of the United States Supreme Court, who generally supported the New Deal agenda of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They were Justices Louis Brandeis, Benjamin N. Cardozo, and Harlan Fiske Stone.They were opposed by the Four Horsemen, consisting of Justices James Clark McReynolds, George Sutherland, Willis Van Devanter, and Pierce Butler. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes and Justice Owen J. Roberts controlled the balance. Charles Evans Hughes often swayed to the liberal side while Owen J. Roberts sided with the conservatives. With the help of Roberts, the Four Horsemen controlled most of the decisions, which led to them striking down many New Deal laws as unconstitutional. Although they were a bipartisan group, with Stone being a Republican, they all had similar views on New Deal legislation which drew them together.
During the 1935 term, the Four Horsemen would often ride together to and from Court in order to coordinate their positions. To counter them, the Three Musketeers started meeting at Brandeis's apartment on Friday afternoons. However, the Four Horsemen held sway, leading to Roosevelt's court-packing scheme. In 1937, in the "switch in time that saved nine," Roberts and Hughes switched to the liberal side in several key decisions, the most important one being West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, which was a case regarding the minimum wage of workers.Within a year, Van Devanter and Sutherland retired and were replaced by Hugo Black and Stanley Reed, strong New Dealers. This ended the Four Horsemen's sway. By 1941, Brandeis, Cardozo, Butler, McReynolds, and Hughes were also gone. Only Stone and Roberts remained, and by then Stone had been elevated to the position of Chief Justice.
The Three Musketeers were successful in many cases. They often were able to convince the swing voters, Charles Evans Hughes and Owen Roberts, to vote for New Deal ideas. The Three Musketeers were able to uphold many New Deal laws such as the Gold Confiscation Act of 1934, The Fair Labor Standards Act, the Tennessee Valley Authority and Social Security. They persuaded members of the Four Horsemen to vote to uphold New Deal legislation occasionally.
Charles Evans Hughes Sr. was an American statesman, Republican Party politician, and the 11th Chief Justice of the United States. He was also the 36th Governor of New York, the Republican nominee in the 1916 presidential election, and the 44th United States Secretary of State.
Harlan Fiske Stone was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1925 to 1941 and then as the Chief Justice of the United States from 1941 until his death in 1946. He also served as the U.S. Attorney General from 1924 to 1925 under President Calvin Coolidge, with whom he had attended Amherst College as a young man. His most famous dictum was: "Courts are not the only agency of government that must be assumed to have capacity to govern."
Owen Josephus Roberts was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1930 to 1945. He also led two Roberts Commissions, the first of which investigated the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the second of which focused on works of cultural value during World War II.
The "Four Horsemen" was the nickname given by the press to four conservative members of the United States Supreme Court during the 1932–1937 terms, who opposed the New Deal agenda of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. They were Justices Pierce Butler, James Clark McReynolds, George Sutherland, and Willis Van Devanter. They were opposed by the liberal "Three Musketeers"—Justices Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, and Harlan Stone. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes and Justice Owen J. Roberts controlled the balance. Hughes was more inclined to join the liberals, but Roberts was often swayed to the side of the conservatives.
Pierce Butler was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1923 until his death in 1939. He is notable for being the first Supreme Court Justice to hail from the state of Minnesota, and for being a Democrat appointed by a Republican president, Warren G. Harding.
The Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937, frequently called the "court-packing plan", was a legislative initiative proposed by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to add more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to obtain favorable rulings regarding New Deal legislation that the Court had ruled unconstitutional. The central provision of the bill would have granted the president power to appoint an additional justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, up to a maximum of six, for every member of the court over the age of 70 years and 6 months.
"The switch in time that saved nine" is the phrase, originally a quip by humorist Cal Tinney, about what was perceived in 1937 as the sudden jurisprudential shift by Associate Justice Owen Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1937 case West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish. Conventional historical accounts portrayed the Court's majority opinion as a strategic political move to protect the Court's integrity and independence from President Franklin Roosevelt's court-reform bill, which would have expanded the size of the bench up to 15 justices.
The Judicial Branch is a history of the Supreme Court of the United States, organized by Chief Justice. The Supreme Court of the United States is the only court specifically established by the Constitution of the United States, implemented in 1789; under the Judiciary Act of 1789, the Court was to be composed of five members—though the number of justices has been nine for most of its history, this number is set by Congress, not the Constitution. The court convened for the first time on February 2, 1790.
The lists of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States cover the law clerks who have assisted the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States in various capacities since the first one was hired by Justice Horace Gray in 1882. The list is divided into separate lists for each position in the Supreme Court.
West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379 (1937), was a decision by the United States Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of state minimum wage legislation. The court's decision overturning an earlier holding in Adkins v. Children's Hospital (1923) and is generally regarded as having ended the Lochner era, a period in American legal history during which the Supreme Court tended to invalidate legislation aimed at regulating business.
Willis Van Devanter was an American lawyer who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1910 to 1937.
James Clark McReynolds was an American lawyer and judge from Tennessee who served as United States Attorney General under President Woodrow Wilson and as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He served on the Court from October 1914 to his retirement in January 1941. He is best known today for his sustained opposition to the domestic programs of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his overt anti-semitism.
During his twelve years in office, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed eight new members of the Supreme Court of the United States: Associate Justices Hugo Black, Stanley F. Reed, Felix Frankfurter, William O. Douglas, Frank Murphy, James F. Byrnes, Robert H. Jackson, and Wiley Blount Rutledge. Additionally, he elevated sitting Justice Harlan F. Stone to Chief Justice. Roosevelt's nine nominations filled eight seats on the Supreme Court because Associate Justice Byrnes resigned while Roosevelt was still in office. Roosevelt nominated Rutledge to the seat vacated by Byrnes.
During his only term in office, President Herbert Hoover appointed three members of the Supreme Court of the United States: Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, and Associate Justices Owen Roberts and Benjamin Cardozo. Additionally, with his failed nomination of John J. Parker, Hoover became the first president since Grover Cleveland to have a Supreme Court nomination rejected by the United States Senate.
James v. Dravo Contracting Co., 302 U.S. 134 (1937), is a 5-to-4 ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States that a state's corporate income tax did not violate the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution by taxing the Federal government of the United States. It was the first time the Court had upheld a tax on the federal government. The decision is considered a landmark in the field of federal tax immunity, underpins modern legal interpretations of the Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution, and established the "legal incidence test" for tax cases.
The United States Supreme Court is the highest federal court of the United States. Established pursuant to Article Three of the United States Constitution in 1789, it has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all federal courts and state court cases involving issues of federal law plus original jurisdiction over a small range of cases. In the legal system of the United States, the Supreme Court is generally the final interpreter of federal law including the United States Constitution, but it may act only within the context of a case in which it has jurisdiction. The Court may decide cases having political overtones but does not have power to decide nonjusticiable political questions, and its enforcement arm is in the executive rather than judicial branch of government.
The Hughes Court refers to the Supreme Court of the United States from 1930 to 1941, when Charles Evans Hughes served as Chief Justice of the United States. Hughes succeeded William Howard Taft as Chief Justice after the latter's retirement, and Hughes served as Chief Justice until his retirement, at which point Harlan Stone was nominated and confirmed as Hughes's replacement. The Supreme Court moved from its former quarters at the United States Capitol to the newly constructed Supreme Court Building during Hughes's chief-justiceship.
The Stone Court refers to the Supreme Court of the United States from 1941 to 1946, when Harlan F. Stone served as Chief Justice of the United States. Stone succeeded Charles Evans Hughes as Chief Justice after the latter's retirement, and Stone served as Chief Justice until his death, at which point Fred Vinson was nominated and confirmed as Stone's replacement. He was the fourth chief justice to have previously served as an associate justice and the second to have done so without a break in tenure. Presiding over the country during World War II, the Stone Court delivered several important war-time rulings, such as in Ex parte Quirin, where it upheld the President's power to try Nazi saboteurs captured on American soil by military tribunals. He also supported the federal government's policy of relocating Japanese Americans into internment camps.
The Taft Court refers to the Supreme Court of the United States from 1921 to 1930, when William Howard Taft served as Chief Justice of the United States. Taft succeeded Edward Douglass White as Chief Justice after the latter's death, and Taft served as Chief Justice until his resignation, at which point Charles Evans Hughes was nominated and confirmed as Taft's replacement. Taft was also the nation's 27th president (1909–13); he is the only person to serve as both President of the United States and Chief Justice.
The New Deal often encountered heavy criticism, and had many constitutional challenges.
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