Vanderbilt Law Review


Otis P. Dobie

First Page



The great Chief Justice of our time has been considerably recalled in the period under review. Pusey,' in a lengthy readable treatment that does not emphasize the legal, views Hughes as a liberal of circa 1910 who was uncomfortable but acquiescent amid the 1930's progressions. Interesting tidbits include a moving account of Hughes' mission to Holmes to request his resignation; bar letters to White complaining of the vagueness of Holmes' opinions; the friendship of Hughes with White and Harlan; Hughes' concern over the tendency of the New Deal brethren to expansively construe statutes and approve state taxes on interstate commerce movements. Pusey accepts, with some reservation, Hughes' denial of pressuring Roberts at the height of the Court-FDR crisis. Mason warns that the Pusey book was much prepared under the Hughes eye. Mason sees Hughes as basically conservative and playing along with McReynolds & Co. as long as possible. Perkins, in a single volume, also not emphasizing the legal, paints Hughes as an early century liberal trying to correlate the New Deal with its forerunners. Rodell believes that Hughes got a tip-off of the FDR court plan, and actively generalled the opposition. He suspects that Hughes was embittered by his presidential defeat and the mudslinging of the confirmation as Chief Justice.