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Learned HandThe Man and the Judge$
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Gerald Gunther

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377774

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377774.001.0001

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The Hoover Years and Hand’s Missed Chance for Promotion to the Supreme Court

The Hoover Years and Hand’s Missed Chance for Promotion to the Supreme Court

(p.355) 9. The Hoover Years and Hand’s Missed Chance for Promotion to the Supreme Court
Learned Hand

Gerald Gunther

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Learned Hand's career during the Depression. Nothing testifies more tellingly to Hand's growing renown during these years than his first genuine prospect of promotion to the nation's highest court: early in 1930, as he turned fifty-eight, he was seriously considered for a seat on the Supreme Court when Chief Justice William Howard Taft retired because of failing health. In selecting a new chief justice, President Hoover confronted a difficult choice: Should he name his close friend, fifty-seven-year-old associate justice Harlan Fiske Stone? Or were there stronger reasons to select Charles Evans Hughes, the sixty-eight-year-old elder statesman of the Republican party? Hoover chose Hughes, but only, it has been said, after he considered promoting Stone and filling the resulting vacancy with Learned Hand.

Keywords:   career, Depression, Herbert Hoover, Supreme Court, judges, Harlan Fiske Stone, Charles Evans Hughes

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