Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


Toward a fuller picture of how the Hughes Court transformed American constitutional law, thanks in part to the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise

This article is based on a paper delivered at the annual meeting of the American Society for Legal History in Houston in October 1995. For a copy of the complete version, with footnotes, please contact LQN or Professor Friedman at (313) 747-107, rdfrdman@umich.edu

When Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., died in 1935, he left the bulk of his estate to the United States Government. This gift, known as the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise, sat in the Treasury for about twenty years, until Congress set up a Presidential Commission to determine what to do with it. The principal use of the money has been to fund a multivolume History of the United States Supreme Court. The history of the project itself has not always been a happy one, for some of the authors have been unable to complete their volumes. Among them was ·one of my teachers, the late Paul Freund, who was the first general editor of the project and also planned to write the volume on the period in which Charles Evans Hughes was Chief Justice, from 1930 to 1941. I have had the good fortune to receive the succeeding assignment to write this volume.