Menu
Image 1 of
Zoom In
Zoom Out
Fullscreen

President Calvin Coolidge's message nominating Harlan Fiske Stone as associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, January 5, 1925

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary recommended confirmation of President Calvin Coolidge’s Supreme Court nominee, Attorney General Harlan Fiske Stone, but within days the matter was returned to the committee. Controversy surrounding Stone’s investigation of the law practice of Senator Burton Wheeler of Montana, whom the Senate had already investigated and exonerated, raised questions. Some thought Stone’s investigation was politically motivated.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration.

President Calvin Coolidge’s message nominating Harlan Fiske Stone as associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, January 5, 1925 President Calvin Coolidge’s message nominating Harlan Fiske Stone as associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, January 5, 1925

The Senate Questions a Court Nominee

President Calvin Coolidge nominated Harlan Fiske Stone as an associate justice of the Supreme Court in 1925. Stone, the U.S. attorney general, was a widely respected lawyer. The Senate Committee on the Judiciary initially recommended his confirmation, but the matter was returned to the committee at the urging of members concerned about Stone’s investigative work and Wall Street connections. To address those concerns, Stone volunteered to appear in person before the committee—the first court nominee ever to do so.

Presidential appointments of Supreme Court justices require the Senate’s advice and consent. In 1925 Supreme Court nominee Harlan Fiske Stone set a precedent by appearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for questioning.