Vanderbilt Law Review


R. V. Fletcher

First Page



In the course of the memorial exercises in honor of Justice McReynolds, held in the Supreme Court of the United States on March 31, 1948, the Attorney General made the significant statement that McReynolds was neither liberal nor conservative." This observation was made in connection with the statement that the Justice, when he was appointed to the Court, was considered a liberal, and when he left the Court, a conservative. His characterization as a liberal was by reason of his experience as a prosecutor in antitrust cases; his reputation for conservatism rests upon his attitude toward legislative measures and economic theories that are characteristic of the so-called New Deal. Stated differently, McReynolds is thought of in certain circles as a liberal advocate, but an ultra-conservative judge. Both points of view reflect misconceptions of the man and the basic philosophy by which his life was ordered.