About Quizzes

Judges’ Bill

The United States Supreme Court labored under an increasingly heavy workload in the early 1920s as prohibition enforcement issues and residual matters from World War I demanded attention. In 1921, Associate Justices James C. McReynolds, Willis Van Devanter, and George Sutherland accommodated Congress by drafting a measure tailored to limit the number of cases to be heard by the Court. The basic thrust of the proposed legislation was to direct most of the appeals from the federal district courts to the federal courts of appeal, which had been created by Congress, in 1891. Chief Justice William Howard Taft left most of the overt lobbying to the other justices, but worked to build a coalition of supporters for the proposal. Backing in Congress grew slowly, but achieved a majority in early 1925. The so-called “Judges’ Bill” helped to change the role of the Supreme Court, making it largely an arbiter of questions of constitutional principle, while the appeals courts became the final authority on most appeals cases.

See other domestic activities during the Coolidge administration.