Three Musketeers (Supreme Court)

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The Three Musketeers

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. [1] 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. [2] Although they were a bipartisan group, with Stone being a republican, they all had similar views on New Deal legislation which drew them together. [3]

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 decision being West Coast Hotel V. Parrish which was a decision regarding the minimum wage of workers. [4] Normally Roberts voted to veto these laws however he switched his vote because he feared the court-packing scheme. Within a year, Van Devanter and Sutherland retired to be 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. [3]

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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.

Stone Court (judges)

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.

Taft Court

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.

White Court (judges)

The White Court refers to the Supreme Court of the United States from 1910 to 1921, when Edward Douglass White served as Chief Justice of the United States. White, an associate justice since 1894, succeeded Melville Fuller as Chief Justice after the latter's death, and White served as Chief Justice until his death a decade later. He was the first sitting associate justice to be elevated to chief justice in the Court's history. He was succeeded by former president William Howard Taft.

The New Deal often encountered heavy criticism, and had many constitutional challenges.

References

Sources

  1. White, at 81.
  2. "U.S. Supreme Court Archives". DAVID MEYER. Retrieved 2020-05-21.
  3. 1 2 fascinatingpolitics (2018-04-11). "The Four Horsemen vs. The Three Musketeers: When the Supreme Court Had Awesome Names for Their Factions". Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  4. "When Franklin Roosevelt Clashed with the Supreme Court – and Lost". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2020-05-22.