- Sherman Minton
name = Sherman Minton
office = Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court
October 12 1949
October 15 1956
Harry S. Truman
Wiley Blount Rutledge
William J. Brennan
United States Senatorfrom Indiana
March 4, 1935
march 3, 1941
Arthur R. Robinson
Raymond E. Willis
birthdate = birth date|1890|10|20|mf=y
birthplace = Georgetown,
deathdate = death date and age|1965|4|9|1890|10|20|mf=y
deathplace = New Albany,
Sherman Minton, (
October 20 1890– April 9 1965) was a Democratic United States Senator from Indianaand an associate Justiceof the Supreme Court of the United States.
A native of
New Albany, Indiana, Minton was born at 9172 State Road 64, Georgetown, Indiana, 47122. A bronze plaque is mounted along the stone wall in front of the house in honor of his birthplace.
Minton went overseas to serve as a captain in the infantry during
World War I. After practicing law in New Albany for several years, he was elected to the U.S. Senate from Indiana in the 1934 Democratic landslide. He was active in Democratic machine politics (the so-called McNutt machine), serving as a state commissioner of insurance. His success at saving Indiana citizens millions of dollars was an important factor in his election to the U.S. Senate.
Minton served in the U.S. Senate from 1935 until 1940. A staunch Democrat, he was a close ally of President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Minton faithfully supported the New Dealand Roosevelt's “court-packing” plan, stands which cost him reelection in traditionally Republican Indiana in 1940.
While a senator, Minton attempted to circumvent the Constitution and to stifle criticism of the New Deal. He tried to make it unlawful to transport anti-New Deal literature in interstate commerce. [Eisler, Kim Isaac (1993). A Justice for All: William J. Brennan, Jr., and the decisions that transformed America. Page 76. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671767879]
Upon arrival at the Senate, he was seated next to fellow freshman Senator
Harry S Truman, with whom he formed a life-long friendship. Minton rose to the leadership positions of Deputy Whip and subsequently Whip, a unique accomplishment for a freshman senator.
Minton remained popular in Democratic Party circles for his party loyalty under political pressure, and Roosevelt appointed him to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 1940. In 1949, President Truman, who had served with Minton in the Senate, promoted Minton to the Supreme Court, where he succeeded the deceased Justice
Wiley Rutledge. When Minton was first considered for appointment, he did not want the job; Hugo Blackwas nominated instead. [Ball, Howard. Hugo L. Black: Cold Steel Warrior. Oxford University Press. 2006. ISBN 0-19-507814-4. Page 91.] Minton was the last person to be appointed to the Supreme Court following service in the U. S. Congress.
"The New York Times" said of Minton's appointment that Truman had allowed personal and political friendship to influence his choice. [Eisler, Kim Isaac (1993). A Justice for All: William J. Brennan, Jr., and the decisions that transformed America. Page 76. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671767879]
On the Court, Minton took a broad view of governmental powers, dissenting in "
Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer" (1952), which ruled unconstitutional President Truman's wartime seizure of the steel mills in order to avert a strike. He disappointed liberals by voting to uphold anti-communist legislationduring the period of the "red scare," voting with the majority in 1951's" Dennis v. United States" to uphold the conviction of the leader of the U.S. Communist Party.
Much of his judicial philosophy revolved around attempting to ascertain and uphold the original congressional intent behind legislation. However, Minton abhorred racial segregation and provided a solid vote to strike down the school segregation practices at issue in 1954's "
Brown v. Board of Education".
Minton consistently voted in favor of order at the cost of liberty. [http://www.oyez.org/justices/sherman_minton/] He was unsympathetic to challenges asserting violations of individual liberties. [http://www.oyez.org/justices/sherman_minton/] For example, in the 1949 case of "United States v. Rabinowitz", Minton authored a 5-3 opinion declaring that warrantless searches were constitutional when incidental to a lawful arrest. [http://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1949/1949/1949_293/]
A lawyer writing for the "New Jersey Law Journal" labeled Minton a "spokesman against freedom," calling him "a man of conspicuous judicial shortcomings, whose votes against civil liberties exceeded those of any other man on the Court, and who wrote comparatively few opinions of other kinds." [Eisler, 96]
The gregarious, backslapping Minton was popular among his colleagues on the Court, as he proved a soothing presence during a period on the Court marked by bitter personal feuds between strong personalities such as
William O. Douglasand Felix Frankfurter. Minton did not make a jurisprudential mark on the Court. However, he and Truman's other appointees to the Court did provide consistent conservative votes, for a time returning the Court to the conservatism of the Taft era [Eisler, 76] . He served as a Justice until October 15 1956, when he retired from the Court for reasons of ill health, particularly the effects of pernicious anemia, which he indicated had slowed him down both physically and mentally. Minton did not particularly enjoy his judgeship. [Eisler, 88]
While on the court, he transformed from a New Deal senator into an almost reactionary judge under the influence of Justice Frankfurter. [ Eisler, 88] Empirical coding of votes shows that Minton was the most conservative justice on the Court during his first term there, [http://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1949/1949/1949_293/ideology/#opinions] and remained in the most conservative half of the court for the duration of his career. [http://www.oyez.org/cases/1950-1959/1955/1955_76/ideology/#opinions]
For several years after retiring from the Supreme Court, Minton occasionally accepted assignments to serve temporarily on one of the lower federal courts. He regretted retiring from the Supreme Court almost immediately after going through with it. [Eisler, 88] However, upon announcing his departure, he remarked: "There will be more interest in who will succeed me than in my passing. I'm an echo." [http://www.oyez.org/justices/sherman_minton/]
Minton retired from the Supreme Court only a month before its traditional opening, which rushed the process to find a replacement. [Eisler, 90] President Eisenhower appointed Minton's replacement, Justice William Brennan, thinking him to be more conservative than he really was, in part because of this hurry. [Eisler, 90]
Since Minton's retirement, there have been no other justices who also served previously in the legislative branch of the U.S. government.
After attending New Albany High School, the first high school established in the state of Indiana, he went on to attend and graduate from the
Indiana University School of Law - Bloomingtonin 1915 and completed graduate work at Yale Universityin 1916. At Yale, one of his professors was William Howard Taft. He also studied international law at the Sorbonne while in Franceafter the First World War.
Minton is the namesake of the
Sherman Minton Bridgewhich carries Interstate 64 across the Ohio River, connecting western Louisville, Kentuckywith Minton's native New Albany, Indiana. Minton is also the namesake of the annual Sherman Minton Moot Court Competition [http://law.indiana.edu/students/competitions/mootcourt/index.shtml] , held at his alma mater, the Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington. He is also honored (along with another Indiana Senator) in the Minton-Capehart federal building in Indianapolis
U.S. Senatorfrom Indiana, later Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court
DATE OF BIRTH=
October 20 1890
PLACE OF BIRTH=
Georgetown, Floyd County, Indiana
DATE OF DEATH=
April 9 1965
PLACE OF DEATH=
New Albany, Indiana
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Minton, Sherman — (1890 1965) Born in Georgetown, Indiana, Sherman Minton graduated from Indiana University in 1915 and Yale Law School in 1916 and established a law practice in Albany, Indiana. He served in the infantry in France during World War I and… … Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era
Minton — n. family name; Thomas Minton (1765 1836), English pottery maker founded the pottery factory in Stoke on Trent (England); pottery made by Thomas Minton at Stoke on Trent (England); Sherman Minton (1890 1965), United States jurist, associate… … English contemporary dictionary
Minton, Sherman — ▪ United States jurist born Oct. 20, 1890, near Georgetown, Ind., U.S. died April 9, 1965, New Albany, Ind. associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1949–56). Minton was the son of John Evan Minton, a farmer, and… … Universalium