Four Horsemen (Supreme Court)

Four Horsemen (Supreme Court)

The "Four Horsemen" was the nickname given to four conservative members of the United States Supreme Court during the 1932-1937 terms, who opposed the New Deal agenda of President Franklin Roosevelt. [Ball, Howard. "Hugo L. Black: Cold Steel Warrior". Oxford University Press. 2006. ISBN 0-19-507814-4. Page 89.] They were Justices James Clark McReynolds, George Sutherland, Willis Van Devanter, and Pierce Butler. They were opposed by the liberal "Three Musketeers" - Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, and Harlan Stone. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes and Justice Owen J. Roberts controlled the balance. Hughes was more inclined to join the liberals, but Roberts was often swayed to the side of the conservatives.Lazarus, Edward. "Closed Chambers. The Rise, Fall and Future of the Modern Supreme Court". Penguin Books Ltd, 1999, ISBN 0-14-029356-0. Page 283.]

In the 1935 term, the Four Horsemen, together with Roberts and Hughes, voided the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 (United States v. Butler, along with the Federal Farm Bankruptcy Act, the Railroad Act, and the Coal Mining ActBall, Howard. Hugo L. Black: Cold Steel Warrior. Oxford University Press. 2006. ISBN 0-19-507814-4. Page 90.] . In "Carter v. Carter Coal Company", 298 U.S. 238 (1936), the Four together with Roberts voided legislation regulating the coal industry; the same line-up voided a New York minimum wage law for women and children in "Morehead v. New York", 298 U.S. 587 (1936). The Court had also struck down the National Industrial Recovery Act in Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States 295 U.S. 495 (1935) the previous May, but that decision was unanimous, with Cardozo writing separately joined by Stone, and Brandeis joining the Horsemen, Roberts, and Hughes in an opinion written by the latter.

The Four Horsemen would ride in a car to and from the Court together to coordinate positions and arguments. They were bitterly opposed to the New Deal policies intended to end unemployment and encourage economic recovery. They also invalidated state laws that tried to eliminate unfair treatment of labor by big business. The Four's actions prevented Congress and the states from expeditiously acting to regulate the economy.

It was the success of the Horsemen in striking down New Deal legislation that led to Roosevelt's court-packing scheme. "The switch in time that saved nine" together with the retirement of Van Devanter in June 1937 and his replacement by Hugo Black ended the Four Horsemen's domination of the Court.Hugo Black and President Franklin Roosevelt considered the Four the "direct descendants of Darwin and Spencer."

Modern Use of the Name

Around 2003, the nickname surfaced again with respect to four contemporary Washington powerbrokers who may have shaped recommendations to President George W. Bush with respect to the Supreme Court nomination to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor: C. Boyden Gray, Edwin Meese III, Jay Sekulow, and Leonard Leo. [cite web |url= |title=High-stakes Players: How a quartet of power brokers known as the Four Horsemen is shaping the future of the high court |accessdate=2008-07-13 |author=Liz Halloran |date=2005-07-17 |publisher=US News and World Report]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Four Horsemen — The Four Horsemen usually refers to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who are the forces of man s destruction as described in the Christian Bible in chapter six of the Book of Revelation.Other uses:In comic books: *Horsemen of Apocalypse, a… …   Wikipedia

  • Four Horsemen of the Supreme Court — Die Richter des Obersten Gerichtshofs in der Besetzung von 1925 James McReynolds (sitzend 1. v. l.) Willis Van Devanter (sitzend 2. v. r.) George Sutherland (stehend 2. v. l.) Pierce Butler (stehend 2. v. r.) Als Four Horsemen of the Supreme… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Four Horsemen — Die englischsprachige Bezeichnung Four Horsemen (Vier Reiter) steht für: eine populäre Gruppierung in der Schaukampf Sportart Wrestling, siehe Four Horsemen (Wrestling) vier College Football Spieler in den 1920er Jahren, siehe Four Horsemen of… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • History of the Supreme Court of the United States — The following is a history of the Supreme Court of the United States, organized by Chief Justice. The Supreme Court of the United States is the only court specifically established by the Constitution of the United States, implemented in 1789;… …   Wikipedia

  • The Three Musketeers (Supreme Court) — This page is about three liberal Supreme Court Justices. For other uses, see Three Musketeers. The Three Musketeers was the nickname given to three liberal members during the 1932 1937 terms of the United States Supreme Court, who generally… …   Wikipedia

  • 4 (number) — Four redirects here. For other uses, see 4 (disambiguation). 4 −1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 → List of numbers Integers …   Wikipedia

  • Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937 — The Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937, frequently called the Court packing Bill, was a law proposed by United States President Franklin Roosevelt. While the bill contained many provisions, the most notorious one (which led to the name Court… …   Wikipedia

  • Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 — The Hughes Court, 1932–1937. Front row: Justices Brandeis and Van Devanter, Chief Justice Hughes, and Justices McReynolds and Sutherland. Back row: Justices Roberts, Butler, Stone, and Cardozo …   Wikipedia

  • India — /in dee euh/, n. 1. Hindi, Bharat. a republic in S Asia: a union comprising 25 states and 7 union territories; formerly a British colony; gained independence Aug. 15, 1947; became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations Jan. 26, 1950.… …   Universalium

  • Argentina — /ahr jeuhn tee neuh/; Sp. /ahrdd hen tee nah/, n. a republic in S South America. 35,797,536; 1,084,120 sq. mi. (2,807,870 sq. km). Cap.: Buenos Aires. Also called the Argentine. Official name, Argentine Republic. * * * Argentina Introduction… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.