Roberts, Owen Josephus

(1875-1955)
   Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he graduated in 1898. He practiced law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and for 22 years taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. In 1918, Roberts became a special deputy U.S. attorney. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge appointed him, together with Atlee Pomerene, to prosecute those involved in the Teapot Dome scandal.
   In 1930, President Herbert Hoover nominated Roberts to fill the empty seat on the Supreme Court following the death of Edward Sanford. With the new chief justice Charles Evans Hughes, Roberts held the balance between the conservatives and liberals in the court. The court became increasingly liberal on issues of freedom of speech and, in the case of the Scottsboro Boys, on the right of defendants to have counsel appointed for their defense. However, Roberts tended to side with the conservatives in cases concerning the extension of government authority under the New Deal. But following Franklin D. Roosevelt’s attempt to alter the composition of the court, Roberts made “a switch in time that saved nine” and sided with the liberal group to uphold minimum wage laws, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Social Security Act. Roberts tended to be more conservative on civil rights and civil liberties and supported white primaries in 1935, compulsory flag salutes, and the pledge of allegiance in public schools in 1940. However, he dissented against the decision to uphold the evacuation of Japanese Americans during World War II.
   Following his retirement in 1945, Roberts was dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 1948 to 1951. He was also chair of the security board of the Atomic Energy Commission. His Holmes lectures at Harvard Law School in 1951 were published as The Court and the Constitution (1951).

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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  • Roberts, Owen Josephus — ▪ United States jurist born May 2, 1875, Germantown, Pa., U.S. died May 17, 1955, Chester Springs, Pa.       associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1930–45).       Roberts was the son of hardware merchant Josephus R. Roberts …   Universalium

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  • Owen Roberts — For the Welsh educationalist, see Owen Roberts (educator). Owen Josephus Roberts Portrait by Alfred Jonniaux Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court …   Wikipedia

  • Roberts (surname) — Roberts derives from the Saxon/Norman given name Robert, meaning bright fame ndash; from the Germanic elements hrod meaning fame and beraht meaning bright. Robert may also mean Son of Robert .Fact|date=September 2007 The name is common in both… …   Wikipedia

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  • Roberts Commission — Two presidentially appointed commissions have been described as the Roberts Commission. One related to the circumstances of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and another related to the protection of cultural resources during and following… …   Wikipedia

  • Roberts — /rob euhrts/, n. 1. Sir Charles George Douglas, 1860 1943, Canadian poet and novelist. 2. Elizabeth Madox /mad euhks/, 1886 1941, U.S. poet and novelist. 3. Frederick Sleigh /slay/, Earl ( Bobs Bahadur ), 1832 1914, British field marshal. 4.… …   Universalium

  • Roberts — I. biographical name Sir Charles George Douglas 1860 1943 Canadian poet II. biographical name Frederick Sleigh 1832 1914 1st Earl Roberts British field marshal III. biographical name Kenneth 1885 1957 American novelist IV. biographical name Owen… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Supreme Court justices, U.S. — ▪ Table Supreme Court justices, U.S. chief justices in italic name term of service* appointed by president John Jay (Jay, John) 1789 95 Washington James Wilson (Wilson, James) 1789 98 Washington John Rutledge (Rutledge, John) 1790 91 Washington… …   Universalium

  • Hughes, Charles Evans — born April 11, 1862, Glens Falls, N.Y., U.S. died Aug. 27, 1948, Osterville, Mass. U.S. jurist and statesman. He became prominent in 1905 as counsel to New York legislative committees investigating abuses in the life insurance and utilities… …   Universalium

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