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1939 Newsweek With Professor Felix Frankfurter on the Cover the Month He Was Nominated for Supreme Court and Was Sworn Into Office

This January 17, 1939 Newsweek memorializes a time gone by in the Supreme Court selection process. President Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Felix Frankfurter on January 5, 1939 to fill the seat on the Supreme Court vacated by Benjamin Cardozo. Frankfurter was one of the first nominees to appear at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee and he was approved by the full Senate on January 17, 1939. Yes, that's right, nomination, Senate hearing and confirmation by the full Senate in 12 days!  By contrast the eminently qualified current Chief Justice John Roberts was nominated on July 20, 2005 and confirmed by the Senate on September 29, 2005 (more than two months) and Justice Samuel Alito was nominated on October 31, 2005 and confirmed by the Senate on January 31, 2006 (three months).

The article on Frankfurter notes that he refused to support the President's court packing scheme despite heavy pressure to do so and states, "Many cite his attitude toward the Supreme Court Bill as a true measure of his powers of resistance to passionate appeals."

The main news of this issue was President Roosevelt's State of The Union address to Congress and the first page shows Roosevelt standing up alone (but holding on to two railings) with the photo title "The President warned dictators." Other news included the Spanish Civil War, news of fascist Japan and an article entitled "Chamberlain Troubles: 'Appeasement' Plaques Premier on Eve of Trip to Rome."

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