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The New Deal era is one of the great turning points of American constitutional history. The receptivity of the Supreme Court to regulation by state and federal governments increased dra- matically during that period. The constitutionalism that prevailed before Charles Evans Hughes became Chief Justice in 1930 was similar in most respects to that of the beginning of the twen- tieth century. The constitutionalism that prevailed by the time Hughes’ successor Harlan Fiske Stone died in 1946 is far more related to that of the end of the century. How this transformation occurred is a crucial and enduring issue in constitutional history. How we perceive both the Supreme Court and the process by which its members are selected depends significantly on how we view the process by which the Court develops and changes constitutional doctrine. To what extent are the Justices’ decisions shaped by the doctrines enunciated in the prior decisions of the Court, to what extent by their own personal ideologies, and to what extent by external events and conditions, including political pressure exerted in one direction or another?


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