Harlan Fiske Stone was the 12th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was born in Chesterfield, New Hampshire shortly after the Civil War ended and spent his early years working on a farm. It was during this time that he experienced the plight of hard-working people with little means, and never forgot that impact. He went to college and law school and began working for a law firm on Wall Street.
In 1925 he was appointed to the Supreme Court by Calvin Coolidge, a former classmate at Amherst College. During his early years on the court he joined with Justices Louis Brandeis and Oliver Wendell Holmes in opposing dissention by Progressives to regulate business. Throughout his career he championed the rights of American workers.
He is best known for reminding his fellow justices that they had the power to constrain the executive and legislative branches, and that their only check was their own sense of self-restraint.
Stone became Chief Justice in 1941 and served until his death in 1946.
Audio Producer: Sally Seymour
Research & Commentary: Meg Mott
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