That Wonderful One-hoss Shay

Oliver Wendell Holmes, father of the famous Supreme Court justice, was not only a renowned professor of anatomy at Harvard but by popular acclaim the genial poet laureate of Boston, which he preferred to call “the hub of the solar system.” Despite his usual good humor, Holmes was an aggressive Unitarian and spent much time assaulting the Puritan theology of his forebears.Read more »

The Jay Papers III: The Trials Of Chief Justice Jay

In the public mind there has always clung to the person and the office of a justice of the United States Supreme Court an aura as close to priestliness as our secular political system admits of. It seems fitting, somehow, that the white marble building in which the Court deliberates strongly resembles a classical temple.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Steamboat’s Charter Of Freedom

GIBBONS v. OGDEN

The famous case of Gibbons v. Ogden, decided on March 2, 1824, was, with its preceding litigation, ultimately concerned with a single question: the power of Congress to regulate interstate as well as foreign commerce. It produced a triumph for nationalism, in the most generous and constructive sense of that term, and its influence has been immense. Its immediate effect, however, was to release from monopoly, like a genie from a bottle, a sooty, romantic, and useful servant to the American people—the steamboat.

 
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A Winter’s Tale Or, The Legal Mind In Formation

 

As Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Charles Evans Hughes was the living embodiment of law and rectitude. But even he had at least one skeleton in his moral closet. It is revealed in two letters written to his parents during his junior year at Brown University, and reprinted from Merlo J. Pusey’s definitive biography.

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When Congress Tried To Rule

Was it, as Navy Secretary Welles believed, “a conspiracy to overthrow the government”?

When in the spring of 1868 the Senate of the United States declared Andrew Johnson “not guilty” of the high crimes and misdemeanors charged against him by the House, Congressman Thaddeus Stevens predicted that never again would a serious effort be made to impeach an American President. What the sharp-spoken warrior from Pennsylvania was saying, of course, was that the failure to remove Johnson had set a precedent that future generations would hesitate to challenge.

F.D.R. Vs. The Supreme Court

Did the President, as he claimed, lose a battle but win a war in his attempt to pack the Supreme Court? Historical perspective suggests another answer

The great struggle between the President and the Supreme Court in 1937 stirred the national emotions to unusual depths because it brought Franklin D. Roosevelt’s crusade against depression into collision with one of our most hallowed traditions. And after a lapse of twenty years it remains high on the list of the most dramatic contests in our constitutional history.

 
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