Justice Reed and the First Amendment: The Religion Clauses

By F. William O'Brien | Go to book overview

Introduction

ON FEBRUARY 1, 1938, two weeks after the retirement of Justice George Sutherland, Stanley F. Reed1 took his place on the Bench of the Supreme Court of the United States. Nineteen years later he retired from this highest judicial body in the land. Although this extended service establishes no record,2 these long years have encompassed an exciting era, which witnessed events highly significant to the development of American jurisprudence. The following facts suggest as much. During this period, Justice Reed has sat with nineteen different men, each owing his appointment to one or another of the last seven Presidents of the United States: Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, F. D. Roosevelt, Truman, or Eisenhower. Hughes, Stone, Vinson, and Warren are the four Chief Justices under whom Reed has served as Associate Justice.

As for the importance of Reed's judicial work during these years, the opinion of one well-known student of the Court is worth considering. Writing in 1948, John P.

____________________
1
Stanley F. Reed was born in Kentucky on December 31, 1884. He graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College in 1902 and then earned a Yale A.B. in 1906. He did additional study in law at Columbia University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Paris. From 1910- 1929 he engaged in general practice in his home state where he also served in the General Assembly during the years 1912-1916. He acted as general counsel for the Federal Farm Board 1929-1932, general counsel for the Reconstruction Finance Corporation 1932-1935, and Solicitor General of the United States from 1935 until he took his place on the Supreme Court. In November 1957 President Eisenhower named him Chairman of the Commission on Civil Rights. Other vital data are given in Chapter XIII.
2
Of the 95 appointees since 1789, 27 have served more than 18 years. Eight Justices stayed on the Court for over 30 years. Marshall, Field, and Harlan each served 34 years. Holmes remained on the Bench 29 years, retiring at the age of 90.

-3-

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Justice Reed and the First Amendment: The Religion Clauses
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 3
  • Part I- The "Free Exercise" Clause 11
  • I- Reed''s Position Undefined 13
  • II- Patterns of Division 20
  • III- Modest Victories 45
  • IV- Doubts Plague the Court 69
  • V- Emerging Leadership 80
  • Part II- The "Establishment" Clause 105
  • VI- The New Doctrine 107
  • VII- Reed and Incorporation 111
  • IX- An Evaluation of Reed''s Dissent 145
  • X- Life with Mccollum 154
  • Part III- Constitutional Principles of Justice Reed 195
  • XII- The Critics and Reed''s Liberalism 197
  • XIII- Reed and Pluralistic Democracy 208
  • XIV- Federalism and the Separation of Powers 221
  • XV- Reed and Judicial Restraint 232
  • Bibliography 243
  • Index 257
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