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 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.
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.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.
Charles Evans Hughes Sr. was an American statesman, politician and jurist who served as the 11th Chief Justice of the United States from 1930 to 1941. A member of the Republican Party, he previously was the 36th Governor of New York (1907–1910), an associate justice of the Supreme Court (1910–1916), and 44th U.S. Secretary of State (1921–1925), as well as the Republican nominee for President of the United States in the 1916 presidential election.
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 12th 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 was a staunch conservative and was regarded as a part of the Four Horsemen, the conservative bloc that dominated the Supreme Court during the 1930s.
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.
"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, but later historical evidence gives weight to Roberts' decision being made much earlier, before the bill's introduction.
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 six 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.
John Frush Knox (1907–1997) served as secretary and law clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice James Clark McReynolds from 1936 to 1937. After working at various law firms, he took over his family's mail-order business and then worked as an insurance adjuster. He is chiefly known for his memoir of his year spent working for Justice McReynolds.
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 overturned 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 1911 to 1937. He was a staunch conservative and was regarded as a part of the Four Horsemen, the conservative block which dominated the Supreme Court during the 1930s.
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 Supreme Court of the United States. 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 personality which was widely viewed negatively, and included documented elements of overt anti-semitism and racism. Born in Elkton, Kentucky, McReynolds practiced law in Tennessee after graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law. He served as the Assistant Attorney General during the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt and became well known for his skill in antitrust cases. After President Wilson took office in 1913, he appointed McReynolds as his administration's first Attorney General. Wilson successfully nominated McReynolds to the Supreme Court in 1914 to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Associate Justice Horace Harmon Lurton.
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 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.