Charles Evans Hughes

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Hughes, Charles Evans

(hyo͞oz), 1862–1948, American statesman and jurist, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1910–16), U.S. secretary of state (1921–25), and 11th chief justice of the United States (1930–41), b. Glens Falls, N.Y.

Political and Diplomatic Career

A graduate of Columbia law school, he was admitted to the bar in 1884 and practiced law in New York City, where he advanced rapidly in his profession. He served (1905) as counsel for a committee of the New York state legislature investigating gas companies and, as counsel (1905–6) for another state investigating committee, achieved national prominence for his exposure of corrupt practices of insurance companies in New York. This led to his election (1906) as Republican governor of New York. In this post (1907–10), Hughes brought about the establishment of the public service commission, the passage of various insurance-law reforms, and the enactment of much labor legislation. He resigned the governorship after President Taft appointed him (1910) associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, but left the Court in 1916 to run for President on the Republican ticket.

The election was one of the closest presidential contests in American history, Woodrow Wilson defeating Hughes by an electoral vote of 277 to 254 and a popular vote of 9,129,606 to 8,538,221. The vote of California, which went to Wilson by less than 4,000 votes largely because of the disaffection of Hiram JohnsonJohnson, Hiram Warren,
1866–1945, American political leader, U.S. Senator from California (1917–45), b. Sacramento, Calif. His role as attorney in the successful prosecution of Abe Ruef, political boss of San Francisco, led to his election (1910) as governor of
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, decided the election. Hughes again devoted himself to his law practice. In 1921, President Warren Harding appointed him Secretary of State. He continued in this office under President Coolidge. Hughes prepared plans for the limitation of naval armaments at the Washington Conference (see naval conferencesnaval conferences,
series of international assemblies, meeting to consider limitation of naval armaments, settlement of the rules of naval war, and allied issues. The London Naval Conference
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), directed negotiations for several important foreign treaties, and vastly increased the prestige of the U.S. Dept. of State. He was a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (1926–30) and a judge of the Permanent Court of International Justice (1928–30).

Supreme Court Chief Justice

In 1930, Hughes was appointed chief justice of the United States by President Hoover; he retired in 1941. As chief justice, Hughes generally held a moderately conservative position, and was often a swing vote on a court divided between conservative and liberal factions. The Hughes court helped develop the modern notion of freedom of speech through such decisions as Near v. Minnesota (1931), which largely voided all laws permitting prior restraint of press publication. More often than not, he voted to uphold controversial legislation of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, though in Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States (1935), he wrote the opinion that found the act that created the National Recovery AdministrationNational Recovery Administration
(NRA), in U.S. history, administrative bureau established under the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933. In response to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's congressional message of May 17, 1933, Congress passed the National Industrial
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 to be unconstitutional. He vigorously opposed Roosevelt's unsuccessful effort to reorganize the Supreme Court in 1937.


Many of Hughes's addresses were published in The Pathway to Peace (1925), The Supreme Court of the United States (1928), Our Relations to the Nations of the Western Hemisphere (1928), Pan-American Peace Plans (1929), and Nations United for Peace (1945). See his autobiographical notes, ed. by D. J. Danelski and J. S. Tulchin (1973); biographies by B. Glad (1966) and R. F. Wesser (1967); study by J. F. Simon (2012).

Hughes, Charles Evans

(1862–1948) Supreme Court justice and chief justice; born in Glens Falls, N.Y. He served as governor of New York (1906–10) and was first nominated to U.S. Supreme Court by President Taft in 1910. He left the court in 1916 to run for president against Woodrow Wilson. He served as secretary of state under President's Harding and Coolidge (1921–25); he excelled in international diplomacy. President Hoover named him chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1930–41), where he gained respect for balancing the conservative forces of legal procedure with the progressive forces unleashed by the Depression.
References in periodicals archive ?
The young Charles Evans Hughes embarked on a career in the law and was admitted to the bar in 1884.
n THE story of Charles Evans Hughes will be told by political journalist Lee Waters as part of a Waterfront special on the US elections being broadcast tomorrow at 12.
Many think that when Taft named Edward White Chief Justice rather than the other obvious choice, Charles Evans Hughes, Taft did so because White was twelve years older than Hughes.
The Bush-Gore race also appears to have the narrowest Electoral College margin since 1916, when Woodrow Wilson drew 277 electoral votes and Charles Evans Hughes won 254.
Charles Evans Hughes, the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was also at the table, along with Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and two others.
Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes and Associate Justice Owen Roberts, perhaps fearing for the Court's independence, shifted their votes in a major case, resolving the crisis and removing the Court from the center of political controversy.
Not since Charles Evans Hughes left the high court, in 1941, has a justice worn a beard.
As time came to vote in my first presidential election, I walked into my poling place at Charles Evans Hughes High School Annex on West 18th Street and unenthusiastically voted for Richard Nixon.
Charles Evans Hughes published the first list of great justices in 1928 before he became chief justice.
In adopting this approach, he has taken his cue from Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, who once described a dissent as "an appeal to the brooding spirit of the law, to the intelligence of a later day.
One of their leading exponents, Charles Evans Hughes, played the leading role as the Secretary of State.
The embargo was, in the words of secretary of state Charles Evans Hughes in 1922, "a policy calculated to benefit China.