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James Clark McReynolds

McReynolds, James Clark (məkrĕnˈəldz) [key], 1862–1946, U.S. Attorney General (1913–14) and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1914–41), b. Elkton, Ky. He received his law degree from the Univ. of Virginia in 1884. He was a professor of law at Vanderbilt when he was appointed Assistant Attorney General by Theodore Roosevelt. He served from 1903 to 1907, and later, while practicing law, he was a special assistant to the Attorney General in several antitrust cases. He continued his active antitrust work as Attorney General. Appointed by President Wilson to the Supreme Court, he opposed most expansions of the power of the federal government, firmly supporting laissez-faire economic policies. He particularly opposed the New Deal legislation, which he believed violated the Constitution. As a result, he was a key target in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's unsuccessful attempt to reconstitute the Supreme Court. Considered a difficult and rather unfriendly man, McReynolds was an anti-Semite who thoroughly disliked his fellow justices Louis Brandeis and Benjamin Cardozo.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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