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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ind. Courts - SCOTUS Justice Sherman Minton featured in Indiana Bicentennial story

Andrea Neal, who is authoring a 100 installment bicentennial series, here in the Crawfordsville Journal Review, writes today on Justice Sherman Minton, who provided one of the four votes needed for the SCOTUS to grant cert in the case of Brown v. Board of Education; the case was later decided unanimously. From today's story:

According to Linda C. Gugin, co-author of “Sherman Minton: New Deal Senator, Cold War Justice,” Minton’s position in Brown “was very consistent with his progressive views on civil rights.”

Minton expressed discomfort with racial discrimination in his highly regarded 1953 opinion in Barrows v. Jackson. The case involved a covenant in a deed, which barred the sale of a residence to a non-white. As stated by Minton: “The question we now have is: can such a restrictive covenant be enforced at law by a suit for damages against a co-covenanter who allegedly broke the covenant?” Minton’s answer was a resounding “no.”

In the Brown case a year later, Minton played a key role in encouraging a unanimous court. He later called it “the most important decision of the century because of its impact on our whole way of life.”

Born in Georgetown in 1890, Minton attended New Albany High School and earned a law degree from Indiana University in 1915. He was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate, serving from 1934 to 1941, and was a strong supporter of President Roosevelt, including Roosevelt’s plan to pack the Supreme Court by adding justices who would support New Deal legislation. Minton lost his bid for re-election.

His friend and former Senate colleague Harry Truman appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1949, where he served until 1956 when he retired due to steadily worsening anemia. He returned to New Albany, served occasionally as a judge on lower federal courts and gave speeches and college lectures. Minton died in 1965. He was the last member of Congress to be appointed to the Supreme Court.

The article also notes:
Minton is often referred to as Indiana’s only Supreme Court Justice, but that is not the case. Willis Van Devanter, who served on the court from 1911 until 1937, was born and raised in Marion.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 28, 2016 09:39 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts