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 the "Three Musketeers" 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 one being West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish , which was a case regarding the minimum wage of workers. [4] 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 Reserve Act (in the Gold Clause Cases ), The Fair Labor Standards Act (in United States v. Darby Lumber Co. ), the Tennessee Valley Authority (in Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Authority ) and the Social Security Act (in Steward Machine Co. v. Davis and Helvering v. Davis ). They persuaded members of the Four Horsemen to vote to uphold New Deal legislation occasionally. [3]

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Stone Court Period of the US Supreme Court from 1941 to 1946

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.

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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.

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.