Harlan Stone named U.S. Chief Justice; Jackson and Byrnes appointed to Court (6-12-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (June 12, 1941)


Senate immediately confirms colleague’s appointment

Washington, June 12 (UP) –
President Roosevelt today nominated a Yankee liberal, Harlan Fiske Stone, to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

He also named Attorney General Robert H. Jackson and Senator James F. Byrnes (D-SC) as associate justices of the Supreme Court.

Senator Byrnes’ nomination was unanimously confirmed by the Senate a few minutes after it was submitted.

Senator Byrnes was confirmed immediately as a mark of Senatorial courtesy to a fellow member. The other nominations will go through customary procedure of committee approval first.

Justice Stone, who became an associate justice on the high tribunal on March 2, 1925, is 68 years old. He was appointed by President Coolidge.

Second Justice promoted

Senator Byrnes, administration strategist in the Senate, succeeds Justice James Clark McReynolds, who retired in February. Mr. Jackson was nominated to full the vacancy caused by Justice Stone’s promotion.

Justice Stone’s elevation to the chief justiceship marked the second time in history that an associate justice on the Supreme Court has been elevated directly to the higher post.

Mr. Roosevelt sent the Senate no nomination for Mr. Jackson’s successor as Attorney General, but it was generally believed that Solicitor General Francis Biddle would be named to this key administrative position.

New Deal entrenched

In sending the nominations to the Senate, Mr. Roosevelt became the first President since George Washington to have nominated as many as seven justices to the nine-man tribunal.

The New Deal is now so solidly entrenched on the Court that its influence there will be established for many years to come. Opportunity to name seven justices has given Mr. Roosevelt the victory that he sought – and failed to win – with his Supreme Court reorganization bill of 1937.

Justice Stone, who is a native of New Hampshire, served as the late President Coolidge’s Attorney General before being elevated to the Supreme Court.

Wrote AAA dissent

He has sided with the New Deal on most major issues since 1933 and wrote a famous lone dissent in the Supreme Court decision outlawing the original Agricultural Adjustment Administration Act.

The retirements and deaths which followed Mr. Roosevelt’s unsuccessful Court reorganization attempt left him as the liberal around which pivotal New Deal decisions were rendered.

Mr. Jackson, 49, is a native of Jamestown, N.Y., where he practiced law before joining Mr. Roosevelt’s administration.

Senator Byrnes is 62 years old and for some time has been the administration’s behind-the-scenes strategist in the Senate.

Two anticipated

Nominations of both Mr. Jackson and Senator Byrnes had generally been anticipated.

Mr. Roosevelt’s previous nominations to the Court were Hugo L. Black, Senator from Alabama; Stanley F. Reed, Solicitor General; Felix Frankfurter, Harvard legal scholar; William O. Douglas, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Frank Murphy, former Michigan Governor who had become High Commissioner to the Philippines and Attorney General of the United States.

Today’s nominations still left the Court with only one far Western member. Western Senators and Congressmen have agitated for more representation.

Douglas counted Westerner

Justice William O. Douglas, one of Mr. Roosevelt’s nominees, was born in Minnesota and reared in the state of Washington. He is generally recognized as a Westerner although his home has been in the East for many years.

Senator from South Carolina since 1931, and a Congressman before that, Senator Byrnes has been in close consultation with the President on all major Senate legislation since the inception of the New Deal, and has functioned as an ex officio assistant Senate Majority Leader in major New Deal efforts to smash legislation through the Senate.

He was largely instrumental in beating down isolationist attacks on legislation affecting administration foreign policy, including the Lend-Lease Bill.

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