Vanderbilt Law Review


Samuel Hendel

First Page



Charles Evans Hughes ascended the bench as Chief Justice of the United States in February 1930 in the midst of the most serious and steadily worsening economic crisis in American history; a crisis which was to put the institution of judicial review, the Court, and the leadership of its Chief Justice to their severest test. "One may search in vain," said Harlan F. Stone, "for a period in the history of the Supreme Court in which the burden resting on the Chief Justice has been so heavy or when his task has been more beset with difficulties."Now, twenty years after the bitter controversies that stirred the nation as many vital New Deal measures fell before the Court and an attempt was made to "pack" the Court itself, and more than fifteen years after the retirement of Chief Justice Hughes on July 1, 1941, it may be possible to appraise his record with close regard for the evidence and with some dispassion.