Supreme Court and the Law

Listings shown are sorted alphabetically.

 
Newly appointed to the Supreme Court
Black, Hugo

Hugo Black - LS 10/30/37 on Court stationery, thanking Tom Terral for a congratulatory letter on being confirmed as a Justice, signed with a large signature "Hugo L. Black".

$175.00
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The Chief Justice is not a fan of the press

Warren Burger – Chief Justice, ALS “Warren”, 2 pages, Supreme Court, no date. The Chief Justice blasts press attacks on an old friend. In part: "Don't let the muckrackers get you down. I decline to…They under-rate the common sense of Americans. People like to be titillated but they don't always believe what they read." Handwritten letters from modern justices are uncommon. Any with content or political commentary are very desirable and difficult to find. [# 3589]

$450.00
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Associate Justice (1945-1958)

Signed letter, 4to, Washington DC, Feb. 15, 1947 Supreme Court stationary. Burton responds to a request from J. Duane Upton for his autograph and signs with a jet black signature “Harold H. Burton”. The letter is in very fine condition.

Burton was an active political figure from Ohio. He served three terms as Mayor of Cleveland and was then elected United States Senator. Although a prominent Republican, Burton was President Harry Truman’s first nominee to the Supreme Court. He replaced Justice Owen Roberts and when he resigned in 1958, due to ill health, he was replaced by Eisenhower appointee Potter Stewart.

[# 2047]

$75.00
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Pierce Butler-Supreme Court Justice, LS as a Justice but on personal stationary 3/17/28 to the Commander of the American Legion. [#4250]

$100.00
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One Justice reflecting on another

James Byrnes -signed letter on personal stationary, undated to Justice Murphy's former secretary Eleanor Bumgardner. The five paragraph letter reads more like an affidavit than a letter and was most likely in response to a request from Bumgardner for personal recollections and testimonials for Murphy. Byrnes describes his first encounter with Murphy, both serving on the 1936 Democratic Party Platform Committee, being invited to the White House for Murphy's swearing in ceremony as Justice and then briefly of their service together on the Supreme Court. "...in the close association that necessarily exists among the Justices of the Supreme Court, I learned of his great industry. I respected not only his knowledge of the law, but his common sense and his desire to do justice."

The letter shows some toning but Byrnes signature is dark and bold. Letters from Justices discussing other public figures, especially fellow Justices are very desirable and uncommon. This is a particularly nice one as it traces the association of two of FDR's Court appointments back to the New Deal politics of the Democratic Party.

Frank Murphy was an active politician and close advisor to Franklin D. Roosevelt before taking a seat on the Supreme Court. His political base was in Michigan where he served one term as a reform Governor. FDR brought him back to Washington as Attorney General and in 1940 appointed him to the Court where he served until his death in 1949.

Byrnes was also close to Franklin Roosevelt. He served as a member of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senator from South Carolina. Appointed to the Court by FDR in 1941, to fill Harlan Stone’s seat as Associate Justice, Byrnes would only serve until the following year. He resigned from the Court to become Roosevelt’s advisor as Director of Economic Stabilization and later as the Director of the War Mobilization Board. He later served as Secretary of State under Harry Truman and then returned home where he was elected Governor. [# 3381]

$250.00
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A blank card, approximately 4.5 x 2.5, boldly signed and in excellent condition. [#4692]

Cardozo was one of the 20th Century’s most influential interpreters and shapers of Constitutional law. His fame came while on the New York Court of Appeals which paved the way for his nomination by President Hoover to the Supreme Court in 1932. While often in the minority his legal philosophy has often been used in decisions and opinions well after his death. He died in 1938 after a brief five year tenure on the Supreme Court. Cardozo succeeded Oliver Wendell Holmes and was himself followed by Felix Frankfurter making for an impressive string of three Supreme Court giants holding the same seat.

$200.00
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Tom Clark-Supreme Court Justice 8 x 10 photo inscribed and dated 4/11/73, after leaving the Court. [#4015]

$100.00
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Early Supreme Court Justice

Duvall, Gabriel –Supreme Court Justice, LS with franking signature, one page, Washington, July 11, 1803. Duval, writing as the nation’s first Comptroller of the Treasury, notifies an account holder of a quarterly interest payment and the new value of his stock. The letter was written by an assistant and then signed “G. Duval”. The integral cover is also franked for free postage with another “G. Duval” signature. There are mounting remnants along the right edge of the sheet with the franking signature and typical fold lines. [#2878]

$375.00
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Pay warrant for Salt Petre to make gunpowder

Oliver Ellsworth, third Chief Justice, appointed by Washington. Pay warrant as a member of Connecticut's Committee of the Pay Table, overseeing state expenses during the Revolutionary War. The warrant authorized payment for saltpetre and is dated January 30, 1777. Saltpetre was used for making gunpowder. It is signed "O. Ellsworth". [#4690]

$400.00
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Refers to his arbitration of the MET Opera's orchestra strike of 1961
Supreme Court Justice, Kennedy Cabinet Secretary, UN Ambassador

Goldberg responds to an invitation from a friend at the United Nations Association –USA and references one of his noteworthy labor arbitration cases as John Kennedy’s Secretary of Labor. In 1961 Goldberg helped settle a strike by the NY Metropolitan Opera’s symphony orchestra. He humorously notes that he will be able to enjoy the special UN concert because “I will be spared the necessity of settling the symphony strike so that the concert can proceed.” The October 13, 1972 letter is on his personal stationary and he had signed in full “Arthur J. Goldberg”. The letter is in excellent condition.

Goldberg had one of the more varied and distinguished careers of the post-WWII Justices. He served as Secretary of Labor under John F. Kennedy and later appointed by Kennedy to the Supreme Court to fill the “Jewish seat” crated by Felix Frankfurter’s resignation in 1962. Lyndon Johnson offered him the Ambassadorship to the United Nations which Goldberg surprisingly accepted in 1965 forcing him off the Court. His relatively short term of less than three years on the Court make him one of the modern Justices with the shortest tenure. His letters as a Justice are somewhat uncommon. [#4213]

$125.00
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Associate Justice (1882-1902)

A blank card, measuring 4 ¼ x 3 ¼ boldly signed in a brown ink “Horace Gray Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.” Some slight age toning otherwise the card is in excellent condition with a perfect example of his signature and full title. [#2636]

Gray served as a Justice on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and then as its Chief Justice. He was appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President Chester Arthur and served there for twenty years, finally resigning after a stroke limited his work. He was replaced by a fellow Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes.

[#2636]

$175.00
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Supreme Court Justice appointed by Chester Arthur

Supreme Court Justice, autograph letters signed, one page from Lenox, Mass Sept. 7, 1860. The letter appears to be a recommendation of a candidate for some unnamed club or organization. Gray was appointed by Chester Arthur and served on the Court for 20 years. [#4490]

$200.00
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- Supreme Court Justice. One page ALS, June 5, 1901 to Senator George Frisbee Hoar on Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court letterhead. Holmes tries to arrange a meeting with John Bellows who was touring New England on his way to receive an honorary degree at Harvard. Bellows and Holmes’ father had been friends. He also was a good friend of Senator Hoar who most likely helped arrange the Harvard honor and was helping coordinate some of Bellow’s trip through New England.

John Bellows was a British Renaissance man, lay political philosopher, archaeologist and world networker. Bellows was probably most prominent because he knew people worth knowing and kept an active correspondence with many of them. [#5120]

$500.00
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Hughes receives the Theodore Roosevelt medal

Chief Justice, Sec. of State, Presidential candidate. Signed letter 10/3/28 to George Kunz acknowledging congratulations on his being awarded the Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Service Medal for 1928. [#4604]

$150.00
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-Supreme Court Justice, ALS, Washington July 21, 1885 sending his autograph. [#2068]

$200.00
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Lincoln appointment to the Supreme Court
Associate Justice (1861-1890)

A blank card signed “Sam. F. Miller Justice Supreme Court United States.” There is some slight age toning to the card and two small pin holes in the upper corners, otherwise in excellent condition. It measures 3 ¾ x 2 ½. This is a nice addition to a Supreme Court or Lincoln collection. .

Samuel Miller was an active Whig turned Republican activist in the 1860 election. A Lincoln supporter in Iowa, Miller was rewarded when Lincoln’s nominated him to the Court. A sympathizer of Lincoln’s struggle during the War, Miller upheld Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus and the right to try civilians by military tribunals. [#1876]

$150.00
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Lincoln appointee to the Supreme Court

Autograph letter signed, February 11, 1887. Miller bows out of an invitation to an informal stag event due to his anniversary. “Mrs. Miller has invited a few friends for that evening on account of the 30th Anniversary of our wedding.” The letter is written on the first and third pages of a folded four page 8vo sheet. It is fairly early example of engraved Supreme Court stationary which adds to the appeal of this handwritten letter by one of Abraham Lincoln’s Court appointees.

Samuel Miller was an active Whig turned Republican activist in the 1860 election. A Lincoln supporter in Iowa, Miller was rewarded when Lincoln’s nominated him to the Court. A sympathizer of Lincoln’s struggle during the War, Miller upheld Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus and the right to try civilians by military tribunals.

[#4454]

$500.00
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uncommon ALS as Attorney General

Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy, uncommon autograph letter signed as Attorney General, July 5, 1939. The letter to Sam [Whitaker] is a warm personal letter of thanks to his former assistant who is leaving to become a Judge on the Court of Claims. Murphy signs the letter in full.

Murphy served as Franklin D. Roosevelt's Attorney General from 1939-1940 when he was appointed to the Supreme Court, replacing Pierce Butler. Murphy served on the Court until 1949.

$150.00
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-- Supreme Court Justice, 3 page ALS 9/28/1868. A chatty letter with personal content about visiting his grandchildren. Nelson was appointed to the Court by President John Tyler and served from 1845-1872. [#2874]

$300.00
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Autograph note signed on a Supreme Court card, undated, to the Marshall of the Court asking him to arrange for seats at a Court session for some friends. It is signed “H. F. Stone”. There is some toning and a crease in the lower left blank corner. An uncommon example of communications within the Court. [#5050]

$225.00
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The Court Roosevelt tried to pack

Supreme Court –an album sheet signed by all nine Justices of the Court that sat untouched through Roosevelt’s first term. It was arguably FDR’s worst political call as President. The Court blocked several key New Deal laws prompting FDR to try to pack it with new Justices. The Court packing bill sparked a strong political backlash. The divisive challenge to the Court’s independence was averted when Justice Roberts threw his vote in favor of a New Deal law he previously opposed. The vote was quickly dubbed as “the switch in time that saved nine.” The sheet is signed twice by Chief Justice Charles E. Hughes on one side in the middle of the page which he crossed out and then on the other side allowing room for all the Justices. The page is also signed by Willis Van Devanter, James McReynolds, Louis Brandeis, George Sutherland, Pierce Butler, Edward Sanford, Owen Roberts, Benjamin Cardozo and Harlan Fiske Stone.

$1,500.00
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Signed letter on Supreme Court letterhead, 3/24/28, to the Commander of the American Legion. "The attitude of the Legion toward the Constitution and the observance of the principles of good government is most heartening to us all." [#4044]

$150.00
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Taft sours on Roosevelt

Signed letter on personal stationary 5/22/16 to Major Wallace Batchelder. Acting as the elder Party statesman and titular head of his Party the ex-president carefully avoids interference with the nominating process … with one exception. “There are so many gentlemen being considered by the Republican Convention, to whom I am under great personal obligation that I regret I can not state my preference.” He signs the letter then handwrites: “Except that I am very much opposed to Mr. Roosevelt’s nomination.” The Roosevelt-Taft friendship broke after Taft succeeded TR into the White House. Roosevelt’s attempt for a comeback in 1912 challenging Taft’s re-election helped Woodrow Wilson walk in. The friendship soured and a lengthy public feud became legendary. Letters from either attacking the other are highly desirable and fun.

$1,500.00
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Gloats on his confirmation as Chief Justice
with a seldom seen “Bill” signature

ALS, July 3, 1921 on his personal stationery to a Yale classmate about his appointment as Chief Justice. Harding nominated him on June 20th and the Senate confirmed him the same day. Taft took his seat on the Court on July 11th. The content is nice, commenting on the four Senators who voted against him, “If you had to have opposition whose would you rather have than [William] Borah’s, [Edwin] Johnson’s, [Robert] Lafollete’s and [Tom] Watson’s”. Beyond the content, the form of his signature is quite scarce. He signed almost every letter and document as “Wm. H. Taft” reserving “Bill” for only the closest of old friends. This was once part of the Forbes collection.

$1,500.00
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Signed check as Chief Justice 1/25/49 to Baley's Food Store for $141.99. [#4695]

$75.00
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Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (1874-1888)

Autograph letter signed as Chief Justice. Dated October 10, 1876, Washington, the Chief Justice writes to a young autograph collector sending her a copy of a letter he wrote three years earlier to a Capt. Dorr. As evident in the letter the Captain had made the request on behalf of the collector directly to the Chief Justice. It is written in bold, dark ink. The 8vo sheet is neatly mounted at the left edge to a larger sheet, otherwise in excellent condition. (#1899)

$450.00
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Signed photo and note

Earl Warren signed 8 x 10 photo, which he dates "1952" along with a brief note as Governor sending the photo. The note is signed in full. [#3367]

$300.00
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–Supreme Court Justice, SP, formal studio portrait by Ackard in judicial robes signed on the matting "Charles Evans Whittaker" with slight feathering to a couple of strokes. In the original photographer’s presentation folder. [#3616]

$225.00ON HOLD