Vanderbilt Law Review


Alfred O. Canon

First Page



The career of Mr. Justice Wiley Blount Rutledge on the Supreme Court of the United States came to an end on September 10, 1949. His passing signified the end of a man's work--and the end of an era. As Rutledge's last opinion became a part of American constitutional history, the Roosevelt Court disappeared and a new alignment of majority and minority was born. The influence of Rutledge in this important period of constitutional development will be difficult to measure until the broader outlines of contemporary social, political, economic, and legal trends are more firmly sketched in the future. A justice's total impact on the law is actually, as Attorney General McGrath stated in 1950, an "intangible heritage" which "constitutes his truly enduring monument" and is incapable of assessment.