June 1941

US and World Events plus Additional Resources


On June 12, 1941 President Roosevelt nominated James Byrnes and Robert H. Jackson to the Supreme Court. Harlan F. Stone became Chief Justice on June 28, 1941.

Harlan Fiske Stone (1872-1946) was appointed by Calvin Coolidge to the United States Supreme Court in 1924, Harlan Fiske Stone was nominated by Franklin Roosevelt to be Chief Justice in 1941 despite Stone’s Republican background. Throughout the 1930s, Stone found himself in the dissent against the anti-New Deal members of the Court. An advocate for judicial restraint, Stone argued against invalidation of New Deal statutes on the grounds that such action threatened legislative independence. It was Stone who advanced the opinion in 1938 that a greater level of judicial scrutiny should be applied to legislation that restricts political processes or institutions protected by the Bill of Rights. Stone’s idea of “preferred freedoms” was later used by the Warren Court to protect individual rights threatened by government action.  Stone suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 1946 while presiding over the Court and died later that evening.

James Francis Byrnes took his seat on the Supreme Court on July 8, 1941. A key supporter of the New Deal, Byrnes (1879-1972) was a close ally of Franklin D. Roosevelt. After first meeting at the Democratic National Convention in 1912, Byrnes supported FDR’s comeback into politics as governor of New York. As a senator from South Carolina from 1931-1941, Byrnes became one of FDR’s men on Capitol Hill who helped to get the job done for the administration.

Byrnes was appointed to the Supreme Court by Roosevelt in 1941, but after serving just one term as a justice, stepped down to head the Office of Economic Stabilization and then to become director of the Office of War Mobilization. His influence over the wartime economy earned him the nickname of FDR’s “assistant president.” Even with this close relationship, Byrnes was denied the opportunity to become FDR’s running mate in 1944. Byrnes accompanied FDR to the Yalta Conference and became an adviser to President Truman after the death of FDR.

Justice Jackson was appointed July 11, 1941 and served until October 9, 1954. In October of 1945 Justice Jackson served as American Chief of Counsel prosecuting the principal Nazi leaders before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.