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Timeline
Supreme Court Developments
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Click on a date to learn more about Supreme Court developments during a specific time period.
1787 1794 1810 1833 1857 1866 1874 1883 1896 1910 1918 1930 1935 1941 1954 1963 1966 1973 1981 1989 1995 2000 2005
Incipient Liberalism
1941
The Court unanimously upholds the Fair Labor Standards Act. The act, which is the last major piece of the New Deal legislation, establishes minimum wage and maximum hour labor standards in all industries producing goods to be shipped in interstate commerce. The decision in Darby Lumber Co. v. United States reverses several prior decisions, most notably the 1918 case Hammer v. Dagenhart.

1941
President Roosevelt promotes Associate Justice Harlan Fiske Stone to Chief Justice.

1943
In Galloway v. United States, the Court holds that a federal judge may reject a jury's verdict and direct it to enter another ("directed") verdict if the judge concludes that the jury had insufficient evidence to support its decision.

1944
In United States v. White, the Court holds that the Fifth Amendment, protecting citizens against self-incrimination, applies only to individuals -- and not to organizations. The decision forces a labor organization under investigation to turn over its records.

1944
In a reversal of its 1935 decision in Grovey v. Townsend, the Court holds that white-only primaries are unconstitutional. The decision in Smith v. Allwright cites the importance of primary elections to the democratic election process.

Photo of a Japenese American family at a government-run internment camp during W.W.II.
A Japenese American family at a government-run internment camp during W.W.II. In 1944, the Supreme Court held that the wartime internment of American citizens of Japanese descent was constiutional.

Credit: Ansel Adams, reproduction courtesy of the Library of Congress
1944
The Court issues its opinion in the wartime case Korematsu v. United States, which deals with a presidential order mandating that all Americans of Japanese heritage report to internment camps during World War II. Writing for the majority, Justice Hugo Black recognizes that an executive order based on race is "suspect," but ultimately holds that emergency circumstances make the order constitutional. In 1988, Congress will pass the Civil Liberties Act, formally apologizing and issuing monetary reparations to Japanese Americans who had been forced into the internment camps.

1946
President Harry Truman appoints Fred S. Vinson Chief Justice.

1951
The Twenty-second Amendment, setting a two-term limit for the office of U.S. President, is enacted.

1953
President Dwight Eisenhower appoints former California governor Earl Warren Chief Justice.