Supreme Court Decisions, 1937–38

May 31, 1938

Report Outline
Liberal Record of Superme Court, 1937-38
Leading New Deal Cases Decided at 1937–38 Term
Decisions in National Labor Relations Act Cases
Decisions in Anti-Monopoly Cases at 1937–38 Term
Extensions of Federal and State Powers of Taxation
Criminal and Civil Rights Cases

Liberal Record of Superme Court, 1937-38

Decisions rendered by the United States Supreme Court during the 1937–38 term, which came to a close on May 31, show clearly a continuation of the liberal course which was charted in 1936–37. In a vast majority of the cases decided, the Court upheld the constitutionality of statutes, and placed a broad interpretation upon the regulatory and taxing powers of federal, state, and local governments.

New Deal legislation sustained by the Court during the term included the Public Utility Holding Company Act, the revised Municipal Bankruptcy Act, and the penal provisions of the Home Owners Loan Act. The National Labor Relations Board was upheld in seven eases involving unfair labor practices under the Wagner Act. In three cases the Court refused to interfere with loans and grants to municipalities by the Public Works Administration to construct plants to compete with privately-owned utilities. Disregarding its 1935 decision in the Perry case, which held the joint resolution of Congress abrogating the gold clause to be unconstitutional insofar as it applied to obligations of the United States, the Court declared in three cases that notices of redemption of Liberty Loan bonds were not voided by the tender of payment in devalued dollars. Repeating its record of 1936–37, and in marked contrast to the terms of 1934–35 and 1935–36, the Court did not render a single decision adverse to the administration which involved objectives of the New Deal.

Term's Work Dominated by Liberal Majority

The same liberal trend is manifest in the record of other cases involving the constitutionality of statutes and the validity of government action. During the 1937–38 term, the Court decided 56 cases involving constitutionality of laws and the validity of proceedings by government officials. There were 26 cases having to do with statutes, 2 with city ordinances, 17 with taxes, 9 with administrative orders, and 2 with judicial proceedings. The Court sustained government action in 46 cases and held it unconstitutional in only 8 cases. In 2 cases, statutes were held constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Supreme Court
Dec. 16, 2022  The Supreme Court
Sep. 28, 2012  Supreme Court Controversies
May 13, 2011  Class Action Lawsuits
Jan. 28, 2005  Supreme Court's Future
Sep. 17, 1993  Supreme Court Preview
Aug. 14, 1987  Supreme Court Nomination
Sep. 26, 1986  The Rehnquist Court
Oct. 26, 1979  Supreme Court and the Press
Sep. 22, 1978  Burger Court's Tenth Year
Jun. 24, 1977  Politics and the Federal Courts
Oct. 09, 1968  Challenging of Supreme Court
Sep. 28, 1966  Supreme Court: Legal Storm Center
Jan. 22, 1958  Criminal Prosecution and the Supreme Court
Jan. 23, 1952  Judges in Politics
Jun. 05, 1939  Supreme Court Decisions, 1938–39
Nov. 17, 1938  Supreme Court Appointments
May 31, 1938  Supreme Court Decisions, 1937–38
Jun. 01, 1937  Supreme Court Decisions, 1936–37
Jun. 01, 1936  Decisions of the Supreme Court, 1935-36
Jun. 05, 1933  Decisions of the Supreme Court, 1932-33
Jun. 04, 1932  Decisions of the Supreme Court, 1931–32
Jun. 06, 1931  Decisions of the Supreme Court, 1930–31
Jun. 09, 1930  Decisions of the Supreme Court, 1929–30
Jun. 10, 1929  Decisions of the Supreme Court, 1928-29
Jun. 09, 1928  Decisions of the Supreme Court 1927–28
Sep. 27, 1924  The Supreme Court Issue
Supreme Court History and Decisions