Charles Evans Hughes

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Hughes, Charles Evans

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 Johnson, 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 conferences), 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 Administration 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).

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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.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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The young Charles Evans Hughes embarked on a career in the law and was admitted to the bar in 1884.
(22.) Charles Evans Hughes, Speech before the Elmira Chamber of Commerce, May 3, 1907, in ADDRESSES AND PAPERS OF CHARLES EVANS HUGHES 133, 139 (Robert H.
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.
The Supreme Court dissenters in the Macintosh case were historic heavyweights on the High Court: Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis Brandeis, Harlan Fiske Stone, and Charles Evans Hughes. It would be interesting to learn if a similar decision denying or diminishing conscientious objection would cause the sort of massive nationwide protest, petitioning and public furor that the 1929 case prompted.
She adds nothing to an analysis of Justice Owen Roberts's change of position, and accepts the prevailing positive view of Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes as a protector of the court.
Charles Evans Hughes rightly described the Dred Scott decision as a "self-inflicted wound" from which it took the Court at least a generation to recover.
When the 1916 contest between Wilson and Charles Evans Hughes seemed destined to favor the Republican, the Democratic National Committee distributed a pro-Wilson flyer to the American people insisting: "You are working, not fighting; alive and happy, not cannon fodder.
However, the majority opinion by Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes cautioned that immunity from "previous restraint is not absolutely unlimited." Hughes noted, by way of example, that in time of war, the publication of details of troop movements could be restricted.
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.
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.