Jurist, 36th Governor of New York (January 1907 until June 1910), US Supreme Court Associate Justice (October 1910 until June 1916), 44th US Secretary of State (March 1921 until March 1925), and 11th US Supreme Court Chief Justice (February 1930 until June 1941). He served in these positions as a member of the Republican Party. The son of a Baptist minister, he was privately educated until age 14, when he enrolled at Madison University (now Colgate University) in Hamilton, New York. He then transferred to Brown University at Providence, Rhode Island, graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in 1881. After reading law, he entered Columbia Law School in New York City, New York graduating with a Doctorate of Laws in 1884. He then began practicing law at Chamberlain, Carter, and Hornblower in New York City and later became a partner in the firm. In 1891 he left the firm to teach at Cornell Law School in Ithaca, New York, returning to his law practice in 1893. In 1906 he ran for Governor of New York, defeating Democratic candidate William Randolph Hearst. In April 1910 he was nominated by President William Howard Taft to a seat on the US Supreme Court vacated by the death of Justice David Brewer and was confirmed by the US Senate the following month. During his tenure, he advocated regulations and wrote decisions that went against the legal premises of laissez-faire capitalism and expanded regulatory powers of state and federal governments. In June 1916 he resigned his seat to campaign for the Republican Presidential ticket and won the nomination. In the ensuing national election five months later, he was narrowly defeated by the Democratic incumbent President Woodrow Wilson. In March 1921 President Warren Harding appointed him as his Secretary of State. He remained in office after Harding's death in August 1923 but resigned following Calvin Coolidge's election in 1924. He then returned to his law firm and from 1925 to 1930 he argued over 50 cases before the US Supreme Court. From 1926 until 1930 he served as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and from 1928 to 1930 he was a judge of the Permanent Court of International Justice at The Hague, Netherlands. In February 1930 he was appointed by President Herbert Hoover as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, vacated by the resignation of Justice William Howard Taft, and he was confirmed by the US Senate the same month. He often aligned himself with the High Court's three liberal Justices: Louis Brandies, Harlan Fisk Stone, and Benjamin Cardozo, in some of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal measures. During his tenure as Chief Justice, he authored nearly 200 majority opinions. In June 1941 he retired from the High Court and was replace by Justice Harlan Stone. He then returned to private life and died seven years later at the age of 86. The majority of his papers reside in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress in Washington DC.
Bio by: William Bjornstad
Antoinette Ellen Carter Hughes