Why Write About Justice Sutherland?
1. He was the intellectual leader of the Four Horsemen. That’s a good reason. I am also intrigued at looking at the New Deal from the losing side.
2. On the other hand, Sutherland was far from a reactionary conservative. As a Senator for 12 years from Utah, he was the leading advocate for women’s suffrage. (And the only Justice who spoke up for gender equality in opinions until the 1970s.) He also supported many progressive measures in Congress, and was endorsed by Samuel Gompers during his unsuccessful reelection bid in 1916. Sutherland also wrote several groundbreaking opinions defending civil liberties, such as the Scottsboro Boys case (Powell v. Alabama).
3. Sutherland is the only Supreme Court Justice from Utah. While he was not a Mormon, he spent much of his career dealing with the Mormon Church (including the legal issues surrounding polygamy), and this is an intriguing part of his story.
More to come . . .