Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
August 30, 2016, 05:42:25 pm
HomePredMockPollEVCalcAFEWIKIHelpLogin Register
News: Be sure to enable your "Ultimate Profile" for even more goodies on your profile page!

+  Atlas Forum
|-+  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion
| |-+  Election What-ifs? (Moderator: Apocrypha)
| | |-+  So Many Scorpions: The Supreme Court, Reimagined
« previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: So Many Scorpions: The Supreme Court, Reimagined  (Read 473 times)
BluegrassBlueVote
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1004
United States


View Profile
« on: August 17, 2016, 06:28:48 pm »
Ignore

“The Supreme Court is nine scorpions in a bottle.” - Apocryphal quote, often attributed to Alexander Bickel.


So Many Scorpions:
The Supreme Court, Reimagined

...

(Excerpt from Prologue, From Shaw to Srinivasan: How the Supreme Court Got Smarter)


Between Dred Scott and Joseph Lochner, it is often said that the only names a law student needs to know are Shaw, Langdell, and Holmes.

Aside from John Marshall (1801-1835), judicial superstars were few and far between in the Supreme Court’s first century. Nominations to the bench were generally rubber-stamped affairs; presidents had little incentive to care for a candidate’s qualifications beyond that of party loyalty. Rarely did a justice make a lasting mark on the rule of law for following generations to applaud and apply. 

Sure, there were standouts. Heavy hitters, luminaries in the field. Joseph Story (1812-1845) was brilliant when allowed to write, but his talents shone brightest in resolving the most technical, esoteric legal matters, and his colleague Marshall took the majority of the marquee opinions for himself. Roger B. Taney (1836-1864) was a strong Chief and a gifted writer, but his misguided foray into solving the nation’s slavery dispute tarnished a once-proud legacy. And John Marshall Harlan (1877-1911) penned many a powerful dissent in the waning years of the 19th century, but his voice was a lonely one lost in the woods.


Lemuel Shaw, the 28th Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

Lemuel Shaw of Boston, though, was a titan of his time. However, his seat on the Court was not intended to be his; Benjamin R. Curtis—a 41-year-old Harvard Fellow and a Massachusetts State Representative—declined the appointment in 1851 in favor of an ill-fated congressional campaign, forcing President Millard Fillmore to go back to the drawing board. Secretary of State Daniel Webster had another Massachusettsian in mind—a man whom Webster had once persuaded to accept the Chief Justiceship of the state’s high court (and shed a great amount of wealth in doing so).

In addition to being an exceptionally influential state judge in commercial and constitutional law, Lemuel Shaw was an attractive candidate to Whig insiders for deftly handing slavery cases that had come before him. Shaw personally opposed slavery, but he frequently wrote that he was bound by the laws on the books, and thus was compelled to uphold discriminatory policies. Such principled fidelity to the law was the exact sort of permissible fence-straddling the Whig Party was trying to convey on a national level whilst wrestling with the slavery issue.

The only negative to Shaw’s candidacy was that he was old. Very old, in fact—sixty-eight-years-old at the time of his nomination, the oldest to ever be tabbed for elevation to the highest court in the land. But Webster wanted a qualified man from his state, and who was Millard Fillmore to deny a living legend? As was custom of the times, Lemuel Shaw was confirmed by acclamation and took his seat on September 22, 1851 as the twenty-eighth Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Justice Shaw brought his legal artisanship to the federal bench and handled many of the most difficult questions before the Court during his tenure, be it in torts, contracts, labor, maritime matters, or more. He routinely crafted opinions that outshone even Chief Justice Taney. In one of his most famous rulings, Shaw imported a holding from his time on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (Commonwealth v. Hunt) that formally established the legality of labor unions for the purpose of raising wages and improving working conditions. In another, the Supreme Court recognized the “reasonable person” standard for the first time with regards to negligence cases.

But Justice Shaw’s most highly praised and oft-quoted opinion on the Court came from the issue that had earned him his nomination but destroyed his party. Shaw’s dissent in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) dripped with venom and smoldered in anger; it could not have been traced to the normally stoic Shaw but for its quality and his signature. Shaw blasted Taney’s opinion on every ground possible—for its contrived analysis on Scott’s standing to sue, its skewing of facts and history, and the unfathomable decision to nullify almost forty years’ worth of legislative compromise. The dissent was powerful enough to convince Justice John McLean to shelf one of his own, giving the two a unified voice in the infamous 7-2 decision.

Justice Shaw passed in 1861 at the age of seventy-nine. When asked to name President Fillmore’s most lasting accomplishment, a former Whig statesman is rumored to have remarked, “Fillmore’s only accomplishment was putting Lemuel Shaw on the bench.”


Christopher Columbus Langdell, the 41st Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

For as much as Shaw was a savant, a born natural at his craft, Christopher Columbus Langdell was a cautious scholar. He was a toiler at heart. Few jurists took longer to reach a conclusion than Langdell, and few so consistently produced a sound result.

As the Dean of Harvard Law (having been recommended for the post by one Lemuel Shaw, a highly influential alumnus), it would not be an exaggeration to say that Langdell did as much to revolutionize the law school curriculum as John Marshall did constitutional interpretation. Langdell was the first to install the modern case method of analytical instruction to all of his classes, replacing the previous routine of professors simply telling students what they thought the law was, and his insistence upon blind grading of exams and stricter scrutiny of application resumes was an attempt to bring fairness and meritocracy to a notoriously preferential field. Langdell was the first to introduce the standard lineup of Civil Procedure-Contracts-Criminal Law-Torts for first-year students, and through it he transformed Harvard Law School into the crown jewel of the legal academic world.

Mindful of the new president’s potential optics problems with graft and patronage, Chester Arthur’s administration wanted to nominate a Supreme Court justice of unimpeachable character and qualification as one of his first public acts in office. They quickly agreed to put forward an academic as their candidate rather than a judge, a career lawyer, or anyone that may have had ties to partisan politics. Tammany Hall had little interest in classrooms or schoolyards.

The nationally celebrated (and ideologically neutral) Dean of Harvard Law School was the obvious choice. On December 20, 1881, at 55-years-young, Christopher Columbus Langdell became the forty-first Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by way of acclamation in the Senate.

Like Justice Shaw before him, Justice Langdell quickly separated himself from his colleagues on the bench. At arguably the nadir of the Court’s prestige, when business-cozy Bourbon Democrats and forerunners of the Old Right G.O.P. filled its roster, Langdell stood out as an expert craftsman and committed egalitarian. His most powerful opinions came in the application of the Fourteenth Amendment, both in majority and in dissent. Justice Langdell wrote for the Court in United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898), which established that the Citizenship Clause broadly applied to the US-born children of immigrants, and he dissented alongside John Marshall Harlan in the Civil Rights Cases (1883) and Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). Langdell took to his grave the belief that the Fourteenth Amendment gave Congress the power to outlaw discrimination by individuals and private organizations, and his jurisprudence would ultimately find vindication in the twentieth century as the inspiration for many a young lawyer.

Justice Langdell’s most visible contribution to the Court came unexpectedly in the form of tax law (Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan and Trust Company). On the winning side of a 5-4 vote, Langdell wrote for the majority in holding that direct taxes on income (by proxy of stocks and bonds) were constitutional. The opinion, brimming with historical examples of the federal government tacitly approving such a conclusion, garnered high praise from legal mavens and populist citizens alike, but moneyed interests fought back with vigor at the turn of the century. William McKinley’s presidency oversaw a gradual assault on Pollock in the lower courts, which subsequently conflicted with Theodore Roosevelt’s hearty approval of the decision. Partisan oscillations in tax enforcement eventually necessitated the Sixteenth Amendment’s ratification, which more than a few commentators referred to as “An Ode to C.C.L.”

When Justice Langdell retired from the Court in 1902, no justice had written more opinions during his 21 years of service. Upon his death in 1906, a note was found in his private den in Cambridge addressed simply to “the American People”. It said: “I succeeded in changing academia, I succeeded in changing the tax code, but I failed utterly in providing liberty and justice for all. And for that, my career was a failure.”



Logged



"To [William O.] Douglas, Richard Nixon was, and had been for nearly 30 years, the enemy. The Nixon presidency had once reminded him of a speech Douglas had given more than 30 years before to Nixon's law-school class at Duke. Nixon said the speech had been so impressive that it inspired his own political career. Hearing that, Douglas said, was the most upsetting moment of his life, the only time he actually felt suicidal."
BluegrassBlueVote
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1004
United States


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2016, 06:38:39 pm »
Ignore

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., the 51st Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

When it came time to nominate Langdell’s replacement, there was only one American deemed fit to fill his seat. Theodore Roosevelt was not even presented with another candidate in the winter of 1902.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. arguably remains the perfect judge. Extremely intelligent and spectacularly decorated, Holmes turned his valiant Union service in the Civil War into a lucrative private law career before becoming the most celebrated member of Lemuel Shaw’s old stomping grounds, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. As the son of an iconic American author, it was of little surprise that Holmes contributed a seminal work of legal literature—The Common Law (1881)—before he ever penned an opinion as a judge.

A Supreme Court justice for almost three decades, Holmes’s list of opinions read like a highlight reel. His tag-team defenses with Louis Brandeis of freedom of speech rights were the stuff of legends, and his support for government attempts at economic regulation steered the pragmatic brand of jurisprudence that defined his career. This manifested in Justice Holmes’s dissent in Lochner v. New York (1905), which many legal historians consider to be the finest opinion ever written on the Supreme Court. In it, Holmes needed only 617 words to lampoon the majority’s creation of the “freedom of contract” doctrine, which ostensibly justified their decision to strike down a state law setting maximum hours for bakers. Holmes’s tone became outright mocking while castigating his colleague’s laissez-faire politics—“the Fourteenth Amendment does not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer’s Social Statistics.”

But Justice Holmes remained an outlier, a true lion in winter. Neither he nor Shaw nor Langdell found themselves in the ideological majority during their respective times on the Court. Their great qualifications and greater accomplishments did not influence presidents to nominate deserving peers over partisan hacks.

But as the first quarter of the twentieth century came to a close, and the Roaring Twenties reached its peak, that was all about to change. Holmes would be alone no more.



« Last Edit: August 17, 2016, 07:03:54 pm by BluegrassBlueVote »Logged



"To [William O.] Douglas, Richard Nixon was, and had been for nearly 30 years, the enemy. The Nixon presidency had once reminded him of a speech Douglas had given more than 30 years before to Nixon's law-school class at Duke. Nixon said the speech had been so impressive that it inspired his own political career. Hearing that, Douglas said, was the most upsetting moment of his life, the only time he actually felt suicidal."
BluegrassBlueVote
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1004
United States


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2016, 06:54:45 pm »
Ignore

Apologies for the long start. The first post would've actually been longer if I was aware that Atlas had a character limit!

This board appears to be well represented in terms of AltHistory takes on the First and Second branches of government, but the judiciary seems to have not been explored in similar depth. As a Supreme Court history nerd and over-eager law student, this is my attempt to explore the chambers of men who I believe would have made fascinating additions to the Court. Hope you enjoy!
« Last Edit: August 17, 2016, 07:05:30 pm by BluegrassBlueVote »Logged



"To [William O.] Douglas, Richard Nixon was, and had been for nearly 30 years, the enemy. The Nixon presidency had once reminded him of a speech Douglas had given more than 30 years before to Nixon's law-school class at Duke. Nixon said the speech had been so impressive that it inspired his own political career. Hearing that, Douglas said, was the most upsetting moment of his life, the only time he actually felt suicidal."
LLR
LongLiveRock
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 2893
Western Sahara


Political Matrix
E: -6.13, S: -6.87

P P P

View Profile WWW
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2016, 07:23:22 pm »
Ignore

Ooooh! I like it!
Logged

http://www.electreport.blogspot.com

Quote from: PikaTROD
The Election is like the Political Olympics. I sit on the couch, and criticize the people who are doing 1000% then I ever could.

Hello, friend. I am LLR, and you're not. I also called #BattlegroundSouthCarolina five months ago. Pleased to meet you too.
BluegrassBlueVote
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1004
United States


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2016, 09:13:46 am »
Ignore


...

(Ch. 1, From Shaw to Srinivasan: How the Supreme Court Got Smarter)

Harlan F. Stone had a problem. Calvin Coolidge had a seat on the Supreme Court to fill, and Stone was his pick.

As Coolidge’s Attorney General, Stone made perfect sense as a nominee. He was the administration’s top lawyer, and Stone had earned high marks in the media for investigating cronyism under his predecessor, Harry M. Dougherty, and the Harding administration at-large. And Stone was a willing candidate, having openly campaigned for the seat upon learning of Justice Joseph McKenna’s intention to retire. Stone desired everything about the Court: its history, its prestige, its power.

But Stone had just gotten wind of a serious complication to his candidacy. An old associate from Stone’s New York firm now beneath in the D.O.J. had telephoned him some early info—that several of the firm’s partners would be indicted within the week for a double whammy of tax evasion and saloon investment. Believe it or not, Stone had worked with more smart people in his days as the Dean of Columbia Law School than he did in his few years making a fortune on Wall Street. Some people lamented ever leaving college; Stone was now doing so for entirely different reasons.



President Calvin Coolidge and his Attorney General, Harlan Fiske Stone, dressed dapper on a weekend morning.

Stone decided that he could not put himself forward as Coolidge’s first Supreme Court nominee. Those Wall Street ties would surface within a day with even the lightest digging, and despite Stone being completely clean of his old partners’ idiocy, anything that even smelled like a Harding-esque scandal was unacceptable for the current administration. That it would come as a result of Coolidge’s trusty A.G. would be especially damaging.

Stone thus made the most painful decision of his professional life—to shelve his nomination. His life and dream was to become a Supreme Court justice, but if he took the plunge now he may never get past confirmation. These indictments would blow over, and there would be other chances for Stone. Coolidge’s presidency had just begun; the Court was filled with old men.

If Stone were not to be the nominee, he knew it would fall on him to recommend Coolidge’s alternative. That wasn’t so hard—Stone just had to find a man whom he would eventually enjoy working with. But the candidate had to satisfy three of Stone’s subjective criteria: (1) he had to be a good Republican, (2) he had to be squeaky clean so as to sail through confirmation, and most importantly, (3) he had to be an academic.

Academics made good candidates and great justices, in Stone’s opinion, and they didn’t impose their will on the Court. Christopher Columbus Langdell and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. were the best justices of the last half-century, but they didn’t dominate their colleagues or seek power on the bench or in politics. To wit, neither had ever expressed interest in the Chief Justiceship despite it becoming available several times in their tenures (1888, 1910, and 1921). This was perfect for Stone, as he wanted a man he could count on to be in his corner one day when Stone was on the Court, an intellectual heavyweight who could become the brains of his faction.

And as Stone mentally vetted candidates who fit this mold, the nominee became obvious: Mr. Roscoe Pound of Harvard Law School.



Logged



"To [William O.] Douglas, Richard Nixon was, and had been for nearly 30 years, the enemy. The Nixon presidency had once reminded him of a speech Douglas had given more than 30 years before to Nixon's law-school class at Duke. Nixon said the speech had been so impressive that it inspired his own political career. Hearing that, Douglas said, was the most upsetting moment of his life, the only time he actually felt suicidal."
Kingpoleon
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 7510
United States


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2016, 04:39:38 pm »
Ignore

For some reason, when I read "the perfect pick", I was thinking Charles Hughes, Jr. for some reason.

Great timeline! I like your detail.
Logged

BluegrassBlueVote
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1004
United States


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2016, 03:46:56 pm »
Ignore

Roscoe Pound, Dean of Harvard Law School (1916-1925).

Dean Pound was a new kind of lawyer, a canary in the coal mine of what the Old Guard would soon be facing. If Calvin Coolidge knew what Pound envisioned the rule of law to be, he would have never approved Harlan Stone’s recommendation for the seat.

Roscoe Pound was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1870, and he quickly made a name for himself as the state’s most promising legal mind. By 33, he was the Dean of Nebraska’s law school. By 40, he was roaming the halls of Harvard Law School as its star professor, and in 1916 he assumed Christopher Columbus Langdell’s old chair as the dean of the institution.

If Justice Langdell was Harvard Law’s benevolent king, Pound was its true taskmaster. He became infamous for the nigh-impossible standards he set for his students. In pursuit of elite graduating classes, Pound stipulated that one-third of all first-year matriculants be failed. A surviving student once remarked that Roscoe Pound was no shoddy jeweler; he took a gem and polished it to perfection.

During this time at Harvard, Pound published many path-blazing journals in nascent areas of law. He and faculty-mate Felix Frankfurter co-wrote a 1919 study of the effects Cleveland newspapers’ crime reporting had on the city’s criminal justice system. The analysis was the first of its kind, detailing how the papers’ sensationalist reporting and increase in column inches devoted to murder and robbery headlines created a perceived “crime wave” among the public, which soon culminated in stricter laws, longer sentences, and, naturally, an uptick in newspaper purchases. In reality, reported crimes in Cleveland had risen only from 345 to 363 in the year that Pound and Frankfurter found the crimes’ column space increased seven-fold.

Most notably, Pound was one of the founders of the Legal Realism movement. Pioneered by Justice Holmes and brought to prominence in academia, the Realists were in many ways a response to the rigid Formalists whom had come to power in the nineteenth century. Realists advocated a more pragmatic and public-interested interpretation of law and a focus on the inherent partisanship of the judicial process. Pound’s extensive writing on sociological jurisprudence—which conceptualized law as a form of social engineering, as opposed to the Formalists’ ostensibly pure process of strictly applying precedent—catalyzed many Realists to attack the Lochner decision on the grounds of public policy as much for its shaky constitutional framework. To Pound, his theory advocated “the adjustment of principles and doctrines to the human conditions they are to govern rather than to assumed first principles.”

Coolidge asked Stone only one question on the matter: “Is the man a good Republican?” While Pound was faithfully non-partisan as an administrator, he was known among friends and subordinates as an avid supporter of the G.O.P. Yes, Pound was a good Republican, and that was enough for the President.

On the tide of many an emphatic endorsement for his fitness for the bench, Pound sailed to confirmation with nary a peep about his allegiance to the budding school of Legal Realism. Roscoe Pound became the sixty-fifth Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on February 5, 1925 by a vote of 75 to 1 in the Senate.

Conspicuously, the lone “nay” vote came from a senator whose son had recently flunked out of Harvard Law.


« Last Edit: August 23, 2016, 04:59:53 pm by BluegrassBlueVote »Logged



"To [William O.] Douglas, Richard Nixon was, and had been for nearly 30 years, the enemy. The Nixon presidency had once reminded him of a speech Douglas had given more than 30 years before to Nixon's law-school class at Duke. Nixon said the speech had been so impressive that it inspired his own political career. Hearing that, Douglas said, was the most upsetting moment of his life, the only time he actually felt suicidal."
DKrol
dkrolga
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 2454


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2016, 04:50:57 pm »
Ignore

Love this!
Logged
BluegrassBlueVote
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1004
United States


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2016, 12:04:12 pm »
Ignore

Photograph of the Taft Court, ready for the 1924-25 term. Justice Joseph McKenna, deeply senile at this point, was just months away from retirement (pictured front row and center-left).

In the early months of 1925, many a historian noted that it had been a good fifty years for the laissez-faire legion. Since the Reconstruction Era ground to a halt and gave way to the Gilded Age’s faux extravagance, the Supreme Court had delivered countless victories to the Titans of Trust, the so-called Captains of Industry—Carnegie, Morgan, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt. Trust-busting became vogue and Monopoly’s grip weakened, but the power of business over its workers merely trickled down to a more local level. 

At the height of its jurisprudential following, Lochner’s “freedom of contract” doctrine was the unofficial law of the land. This early form of substantive due process posited that governments had no authority to interfere with a citizen’s right to choose with whom to contract with and on which terms to work for; if your bakery demanded that you work eighty hours a week, then by golly, it was your choice whether to take that offer or find an employer who only wanted you to work seventy. Naturally, laws that established a minimum wage or placed a cap on permissible work hours were thus dead on arrival for a majority of the Justices. In Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918), even child labor went unchecked over a vociferous Holmes dissent. 


The Supreme Court of the United States in 1925

Chief Justice William H. Taft – nom. Harding, 1921 (age 68)
Assoc. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes – nom. T. Roosevelt, 1902 (age 84)
Assoc. Justice Willis Van Devanter – nom. Taft, 1910 (age 66)
Assoc. Justice James C. McReynolds – nom. Wilson, 1914 (age 63)
Assoc. Justice Louis Brandeis – nom. Wilson, 1916 (age 69)
Assoc. Justice George Sutherland – nom. Harding, 1922 (age 63)
Assoc. Justice Pierce Butler – nom. Harding, 1922 (age 59)
Assoc. Justice Edward T. Sanford – nom. Harding, 1923 (age 60)
Assoc. Justice Roscoe Pound – nom. Coolidge, 1925 (age 55)
 
When Roscoe Pound first donned his robes and took his seat as an Associate Justice, he was the youngest man of an old bunch. In collecting their spoils as the victor of many campaigns, the G.O.P.’s domination of the White House since the Civil War (sans Cleveland and Wilson) had allowed them to nominate the vast majority of the Court’s seats for several generations. Even though only one of then-President Taft’s six nominations had lasted on the Court for more than 11 years (a matter of great embarrassment to the now-Chief Justice), Warren Harding was there to elevate many of their successors. Crucialy, Woodrow Wilson had made a grave error in “kicking upstairs” the notoriously cantankerous McReynolds, who shed his skin as a relatively progressive Attorney General to become the most reactionary member of the Court’s dominant conservative wing.

Pound was replacing Joseph McKenna, an unexceptional McKinley nominee whom had served as something of a vacillating swing vote for almost 30 years, but in this era, even the ostensibly neutral were firmly center-right. Taft and his protégé, Edward Sanford, were known as business-friendly moderates, who would have been known as the reliable conservatives had the Butler/McReynolds/Sutherland/Van Devanter bloc not existed as far-right alternatives. Any one of the “Four Horsemen”—as they would soon become known as—could have been the most conservative member of the Court in an earlier or later generation, but they combined their powers to strike down any and all government regulations that they saw on the docket.

That left just two members to carry the liberal crusade. “Justices Holmes and Brandeis dissenting” became a standard denotation in many contentious cases, as the pair of Harvard men were tasked with the Sisyphean job of defending First Amendment speech rights against the censor-happy conservatives. Pound’s first major case he participated in the Court was Gitlow v. New York, in which six Justices upheld the conviction of a Socialist newspaper editor on the basis that he was advocating “violent overthrow of the government.” Pound and Holmes joined Holmes’s dissent, who pushed back against his own “clear and present danger” standard that he had set forth six years prior in Schenck v. United States. In describing the defendant’s efforts, Holmes said that “eloquence may set fire to reason, but whatever may be thought of the redundant discourse before us, it had no chance of starting a present conflagration.”

Coolidge and most conservatives paid little attention to Pound’s vote in Gitlow, or any of his decisions, for that matter. Times were good, business was booming, and the right number of Justices were deciding the right way in cases.



Logged



"To [William O.] Douglas, Richard Nixon was, and had been for nearly 30 years, the enemy. The Nixon presidency had once reminded him of a speech Douglas had given more than 30 years before to Nixon's law-school class at Duke. Nixon said the speech had been so impressive that it inspired his own political career. Hearing that, Douglas said, was the most upsetting moment of his life, the only time he actually felt suicidal."
BluegrassBlueVote
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1004
United States


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2016, 08:08:52 am »
Ignore

 
Chief Justice William H. Taft and Associate Justice Edward T. Sanford, common bedmates on most cases.

FMR. PRESIDENT, CHIEF JUSTICE TAFT DEAD AT 72; S.C. JUSTICE SANFORD PASSES ON SAME DAY
The Washington Post | March 8, 1930

...

Court-observers often referred to Associate Justice Edward T. Sanford as Taft’s protégé; Democrats were generally less professional. Sanford, a Harvard-educated Tennessean and Warren Harding’s fourth and final nominee to the Court, earned the title of “puppet”, “lapdog”, and “minion” for his assumed tendencies to vote in whatever direction the Big Chief steered him. “As Taft goes, so does Sanford” was an appellate lawyer’s axiom when preparing for oral argument in front of the Supreme Court.

Despite Taft’s insistence that he would serve until death—“I must stay on the court in order to prevent the Bolsheviki from getting control,” he once said in a correspondence—several years of growing ailments and declining health eventually led to the relinquishing of his beloved seat. Weighing over a hundred pounds less than at the peak size of his presidency, Taft retired from the Court on February 3, 1930, barely strong enough to pen a thank-you note to his fellow Justices.

Some wondered what Sanford would do without his Chief. That answer came in a form of gallows humor five weeks later, when news broke in D.C. on the morning of March 8 that the Sanford had unexpectedly died of uremic poisoning from a botched tooth extraction. He was only 64. “As Taft went, so did Sanford,” sneered at least a few Democrat backbenchers.


The remaining seven Justices of the Taft Court pay respects to their former Chief at his funeral burial in Arlington National Cemetery, March 11, 1930.

A modest amount of media coverage was prepared to commemorate the late Justice, as the press that spring was happy to report on anything other than the worsening economy, but mere hours later the papers and radio stations caught wind of Taft’s passing at his Washington home. The Chief couldn’t have died on a more fitting day. For one last time in their careers, Sanford had been overshadowed by his mentor.

President Herbert Hoover was apoplectic when given word of Justice Sanford’s passing. “Another one?!” he blustered. “I just replaced the boss!” Last month’s confirmation of Taft’s replacement had been a smooth and uneventful affair, a no-brainer of a nominee taking his victory lap through the Senate, but Hoover couldn’t be pressed to care for the Court at the present moment. The Depression was intensifying—unemployment had doubled since the October crash, Europe was diving with them off the economic cliff, and Hoover’s monthly assurances of “the worst is behind us!” were becoming ever less convincing to the public.

It was in this chaotic environment that the most shocking judicial nomination in history would soon be made.



« Last Edit: Today at 04:07:55 pm by BluegrassBlueVote »Logged



"To [William O.] Douglas, Richard Nixon was, and had been for nearly 30 years, the enemy. The Nixon presidency had once reminded him of a speech Douglas had given more than 30 years before to Nixon's law-school class at Duke. Nixon said the speech had been so impressive that it inspired his own political career. Hearing that, Douglas said, was the most upsetting moment of his life, the only time he actually felt suicidal."
BluegrassBlueVote
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1004
United States


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2016, 09:03:50 pm »
Ignore

Any thoughts, concerns, or other forms of feedback? I plan on taking this up until 2017. If anyone has read The Brethren by Bob Woodward or any of Jeffrey Toobin's Supreme Court tell-alls, I'm going for a similar feel.
Logged



"To [William O.] Douglas, Richard Nixon was, and had been for nearly 30 years, the enemy. The Nixon presidency had once reminded him of a speech Douglas had given more than 30 years before to Nixon's law-school class at Duke. Nixon said the speech had been so impressive that it inspired his own political career. Hearing that, Douglas said, was the most upsetting moment of his life, the only time he actually felt suicidal."
DKrol
dkrolga
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 2454


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2016, 07:35:13 am »
Ignore

Any thoughts, concerns, or other forms of feedback? I plan on taking this up until 2017. If anyone has read The Brethren by Bob Woodward or any of Jeffrey Toobin's Supreme Court tell-alls, I'm going for a similar feel.

I love this. I've often thought about doing something like this myself, but this is much better than anything I could come up with.
Logged
BluegrassBlueVote
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1004
United States


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2016, 11:43:44 am »
Ignore

Any thoughts, concerns, or other forms of feedback? I plan on taking this up until 2017. If anyone has read The Brethren by Bob Woodward or any of Jeffrey Toobin's Supreme Court tell-alls, I'm going for a similar feel.

I love this. I've often thought about doing something like this myself, but this is much better than anything I could come up with.

Thank you very much, DKrol. Rest assured, though, my knowledge is very narrowly tailored to this line of history.
Logged



"To [William O.] Douglas, Richard Nixon was, and had been for nearly 30 years, the enemy. The Nixon presidency had once reminded him of a speech Douglas had given more than 30 years before to Nixon's law-school class at Duke. Nixon said the speech had been so impressive that it inspired his own political career. Hearing that, Douglas said, was the most upsetting moment of his life, the only time he actually felt suicidal."
BluegrassBlueVote
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1004
United States


View Profile
« Reply #13 on: Today at 04:03:50 pm »
Ignore

Charles Evans Hughes, fmr. Secretary of State (1921-1925) and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (1910-1916).

There were only two candidates that President Herbert Hoover considered for the Chief Justiceship—Learned Hand of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and elder statesman Charles Evans Hughes.

Before Taft’s body was even cold, conservatives in Hoover’s party were ringing the Oval Office to recommended Associate Justice George Sutherland for the post. Sutherland, 68, was seen as the intellectual leader of the Court’s Four Horsemen—a man who tempered McReynolds’s vitriol, gave a voice to the silent Van Devanter, and blunted the sharply partisan Butler. But Hoover was wary of Sutherland’s service as a two-term senator from Utah before his elevation to the bench; the President did not want to tie himself to a former politician in the increasingly polarized climate of the Depression.

That same mindset doomed Hughes’s candidacy. To many Republicans, Hughes’s career was one of twin tragedies—that he hadn’t become President, and that he hadn’t become Chief Justice. The latter would have surely happened if he hadn’t resigned to run for the former. Just 48 when he was first placed on the bench by then-President Taft, Hughes was the Court’s shining star as a moderate foil to both Holmes and the Lochner-ites. His stay as a Justice lasted just six years before he was recruited by the G.O.P. establishment to deprive Woodrow Wilson of a second term; insiders assured Hughes that he would be the runaway favorite, a strong figure who could unite Old Guard conservatives with Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose progressives against the backdrop of war across the Atlantic. Their guarantees proved empty, but only barely—Hughes came up short in the general election by a mere 23 electoral votes, one of the closest such contests in history.

Rather than be put out to pasture, Hughes declined another run at the presidency in 1920 but accepted Warren Harding’s offer to become his Secretary of State. He served through Harding’s death and the remaining years of his term, stepping aside to let Calvin Coolidge appoint his own Secretary upon winning re-election. Hughes returned to practicing law at the New York firm he’d been partner at in his pre-Governor days, where he argued over 50 cases before the Supreme Court on behalf of many of America’s largest businesses and industries.

Hughes’s stint as a Supreme Court advocate cost him his last bit of goodwill among once-enthusiastic progressives. In the wake of Taft’s death, progressive senator of William E. Borah (R-ID) bristled at President Hoover’s rumored favoring of Hughes for the spot. In an era where Lochner still ruled and big business remained sovereign, Borah warned against “placing upon the Court as Chief Justice one whose views are known upon these vital and important questions and whose views, in my opinion, however sincerely entertained, are not which ought to be incorporated in and made a permanent part of our legal and economic system.”

That was enough for Hoover to set his sights on the less famous nominee. Charles Evans Hughes would not be receiving a second life on the Court.


Judge Learned Hand of the Southern District of New York (1909-1924) and Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (1924-1930).

Perhaps no jurist in the twentieth century embodied the spirit of the American judge more than Billings Learned Hand. In addition to possessing exemplary professional demeanor and a writing style that was precisely technical but eminently readable, Hand even looked like a judge, right down to his mono-chained spectacles and prim three-piece suits.

As Harvard Law’s sharpest student between the Langdell and Pound eras, Hand soared through the legal ranks and became a short-lived disciple of Roosevelt’s New Nationalism movement. But a turn-of-heart in his forties saw Learned become fiercely apolitical; his deference to legislation passed by either party was one of the main reasons why, at 52-year-old, Judge Hand found himself promoted from his federal district court to a seat on the Second Circuit.

At the time that Louis Brandeis toiled in dissent on most free speech cases, Hand became one of the lower courts’ most prominent defenders of civil liberties, one of the few areas of the law that he was comfortable in breaking from his enduring commitment to judicial restraint. Learned’s ability to expertly write on a litany of esoteric fields—be it patents, torts, admiralty law, or complex antitrust legislation—earned him lifetime admirers in the legal community and more than a few comparisons to Justice Lemuel Shaw. If Oliver Wendell Holmes made law school “cool” amongst the educated youth, then Hand was the first rockstar of his craft, a contemporary staple in casebooks and a frequent summer speaker at northeastern colleges.

Hoover’s advisors filled him in on Hand’s lofty status, but what most impressed the President was the Judge’s ideology. Not merely by Hand’s politics—though Hoover had begun as a Bull Moose progressive as well, and never subscribed to Lochner—but his dedication to preserving the will of elected majorities rather than delegating from the bench. If there were ever a man to reign in the Court from its era of judicial activism, Learned Hand would be that shepherd.

On February 13, 1930, Learned Hand was confirmed as the eleventh Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in a swift and orderly manner—just the way the nominee liked it.

Hoover’s next nomination wouldn’t go so smoothly.



Logged



"To [William O.] Douglas, Richard Nixon was, and had been for nearly 30 years, the enemy. The Nixon presidency had once reminded him of a speech Douglas had given more than 30 years before to Nixon's law-school class at Duke. Nixon said the speech had been so impressive that it inspired his own political career. Hearing that, Douglas said, was the most upsetting moment of his life, the only time he actually felt suicidal."
Pages: [1] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Logout

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines