Decisions of the Supreme Court, 1929–30

June 9, 1930

Report Outline
Changes in Court Membership: Disposition of Cases
Railroad and Public Utility Cases
Questions of Trade Regulation
Labor Cases and Employers' Liability Cases
Criminal Cases and Prohibition Cases
The Judicial Veto
Special Focus

Changes in Court Membership: Disposition of Cases

A Different Supreme Court adjourned June 2, 1930, from that which opened the 1929–30 term on October 3, last. Chief Justice Taft was succeeded by Chief Justice Hughes, and, after a lengthy Senate contest, resulting in the rejection of President Hoover's nomination of John J. Parker of North Carolina, Owen J. Roberts was sworn in on the last day of the term to succeed the late Justice Sanford.

Chief Justice Taft came to Supreme Court, at a time when it was being heavily burdened by the increasing litigation that came to it from the flowed dockets of the state and federal courts. Yearly it disposed of some 700 cases, but new cases were coming in increasing numbers, and the Supreme Court found itself more and more in arrears. At the close of Chief Justice Taft's first year (1922–23), the Court was about 400 cases in arrears. The next year the number of cases carried over to the ensuing term was 462, and in the following year it was 558. Taft felt that something had to be clone to enable the Supreme Court to keep up with its work, and to set an example to other courts in the efficient administration of justice.

The method adopted by the late Chief Justice was to persuade Congress to pass the Jurisdictional Act of 1925 which enabled the Supreme Court, through the use of its own discretion, to give its attention to only such cases as it deemed to be of sufficient, public importance. The Jurisdictional Act produced striking results. During the four ensuing terms the Supreme Court disposed of about 850 cases a year, and made rapid inroads upon the number of cases in arrears. During the term just closed there was an increase in the number of cases docketed and a reduction in the number of cases decided, resulting in an increase in the number carried over to the next term. When it adjourned oil June 2, however, the Court had decided all cases argued before it during the term.

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