During fifteen years on the Supreme Court, Roberts was the swing vote in the struggle between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Court, particularly over New Deal legislation. His critics cite a lack of jurisprudential consistency in his decisions.
Born in southeastern Pennsylvania, Roberts studied at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a law degree in 1898. He worked first as a private attorney and then as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge appointed Roberts a special U.S. attorney to investigate the Teapot Dome scandal. President Herbert Hoover nominated Roberts to the Supreme Court in 1930 after Hoover’s first nominee, Judge John J. Parker, was not confirmed by the Senate.
Owen J. Roberts
Roberts joined a conservative Court noted for its skepticism of governmental regulation of business. The Court regularly overturned New Deal
In response to public criticism of the Court, Roberts changed his position on the New Deal. In West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish
Bader, William H., and Roy M. Mersky, eds. The First One Hundred Eight Justices. Buffalo, N.Y.: William S. Hein, 2004. Friedman, Leon, and Fred Israel, eds. The Justices of the Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions. 5 vols. New York: Chelsea House, 1997. Hendel, Samuel. Charles Evans Hughes and the Supreme Court. New York: King’s Crown Press, Columbia University, 1951. Leonard, Charles A. A Search for a Judicial Philosophy: Mr. Justice Roberts and the Constitutional Revolution of 1937. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1971. Parrish, Michael E. The Hughes Court: Justices, Rulings, and Legacy. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-Clio, 2002. Pearson, Drew, and Robert Allen. The Nine Old Men. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran, 1936. Renstrom., Peter G. The Stone Court: Justices, Rulings, and Legacy. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-Clio, 2001.
Butler, United States v.
Cantwell v. Connecticut
Korematsu v. United States
Nebbia v. New York
Panama Refining Co. v. Ryan
Parker, John J.
Roosevelt, Franklin D.
Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States
Smith v. Allwright
West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish