The Judicial Philosophy of Justice Rutledge
In the first part of this book Justice Rutledge states his faith in judicial and governmental activism. He elaborates these principles in the second part, "The Commerce Clause: A Chapter in Democratic Living," which addresses changing judicial interpretations of the Constitutional delegation of power to regulate commerce. He concludes that the commerce clause's pre-eminence in the scheme of federation ensured the adoption of the
Constitution and preserved its success ever since.
"He once said that before he could sign an opinion he not only had to be satisfied that it was logically sound but must feel intuitively that it was right. The same thought is found in the early pages of his Declaration of Legal Faith. The easy way was not the way of Wiley Rutledge. He abjured the merely supportable. The basic tenet of his philosophy, I believe, was this: that law must be the servant of the people, not their master. He has declared in moving words his faith in a trinity-law conjoined with freedom and justice. To the principle that law must serve the ends of freedom and justice he dedicated his life."--Fred M. Vinson, Chief Justice, United States Supreme Court 1946-1953, 25 Indiana Law Journal 421 1949-1950
Wiley Blount Rutledge [1894-1949] was the last of Franklin Roosevelt's appointments to the Supreme Court and a staunch defender of the New Deal. He served as an Associate Justice to the United States Supreme Court from 1943 until his death in 1949.