Thesis Title

Nominations to the Supreme Court, 1893-1908

Graduation Date

Summer 1945

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Degree Granting Institution

Catholic University of America

Program Name



ln his Constitutional History of the United States Andrew C. McLaughlin refers to the Senate's control over Supreme Court appointments as a delicate and difficult question* "There is nothing," he remarks, "hut a high regard for the ethics, an appreciation of the duty of public servants, to restrain them from using the powers of appointment to attain their ends*" What the noted author implies has more than once, since the advent of the Few Deal, been defi­nitely formulated by authorities as well as by laymen. It was felt, therefore, than an examination of the attitude of the Senate toward Court appointments would be not only interesting but practical. But it was soon discovered that the attitude of the Senators could be intelligently understood only in the light of the correlative part played by the President, and to a lesser degree in the light of the reception of the nomination by the nation at large* Accordingly, the original purpose was extended to embrace these considerations as well.

The particular period of the study, including as it does the second administration of Grover Cleveland and those of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, was selected with a purpose. The nominations during the first sixty years of the Court's existence have already been thoroughly investigated and set forth by Floyd E. McCaffree in his doctoral dissertation undertaken at the University of Michigan in 1938. Of what remained, the years immediately pre­ceding and following the turn of the century promised to be most interesting, not only in view of the appointments made but also in consideration of the importance of this era in constitutional development.

After the material for this essay had been gathered, a problem of arrangement presented itself, occasioned by the fact that President McKinley had made hut one nomination to the Court, whereas Cleveland had made four and Roosevelt three. Material sufficient to justify a separate chapter on each nominee was not at hand, and, moreover, such a possible division would make it rather difficult to consider each of the eight in its all-important political background. It is hoped, therefore, that the reader will allow for the disparity in chapter length which the treatment decided upon necessitated.

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