The Constrained Court: Law, Politics, and the Decisions Justices Make

By Michael A. Bailey; Forrest Maltzman | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF DIVERSE
LEGAL VALUES

NO ONE DOUBTS FELIX FRANKFURTER’S liberal pedigree. Before serving on the Court, Frankfurter helped found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), wrote a book criticizing death sentences for Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, and advised Franklin Roosevelt. However, on the Court, Frankfurter was widely viewed as a conservative jurist. He took conservative positions on anti-communist cases (Friedman 2009, 255) and labor cases (Spaeth and Altfeld 1986) and frequently butted heads with liberal justices (Urofsky 1991, 63; Ely 1980, 3). Statistical studies place him on the conservative end of the bench (Bailey 2007; Martin and Quinn 2002).

One source of Frankfurter’s judicial conservatism was that he believed “unless a statute violates a clear constitutional prohibition, courts should not void a law because judges disagree with its premises” (Urofsky 199l, x). This led him to repeatedly vote to uphold legislation and government actions that he opposed on policy grounds. Frankfurter testified against the death penalty before the Royal Commission on Capital Punishment in London in 1950, but he did not systematically rule against it as a justice (Urofsky 1991, 215). He opposed anti-subversion acts such as the Smith Act of 1940, writing to Justice Brennan that “there isn’t a man on the Court who personally disapproves more than I do of the un-American Committees, of all the Smith prosecutions, of the Attorney General’s list etc etc,” but he generally did not vote against such government activities (Friedman 2009, 255; Urofsky 1991, 115).1

Frankfurter’s reluctance to strike laws or government actions makes sense in light of his personal history. In the early twentieth century when Frankfurter entered public life, the Supreme Court struck progressive legislation with relentless regularity. In Pollack v. Farmers Loan and Trust (1895) it struck the income tax. In Lochner v. New York (1905) it struck limits on the work week. In Bailey v. Drexel Furniture (1922) it struck child labor laws. In Adkins v. Children’s Hospital (1923) and Morehead v. New York (1936) it struck minimum wage laws. And in Schechter Poultry v. United States (1935) it struck the New Deal’s centerpiece National Industrial Recovery Act. Not surprisingly, liberals were fed up with Court intervention.

-80-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Constrained Court: Law, Politics, and the Decisions Justices Make
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 217

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.