The Benefits and Evils of Competition”: James Coolidge Carter’s Supreme Court Advocacy
This chapter examines the Supreme Court advocacy of James Coolidge Carter, a leading legal theorist, practicing attorney, and political reformer of the Gilded Age. Carter was perhaps the most respected appellate advocate in the country at the end of the nineteenth century. He argued some of the most important cases of the Gilded Age. He defended the federal income tax, a Chinese immigrant denied reentry into the United States pursuant to a racist immigration restriction statute, and also argued seminal cases concerning the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and the recognition of foreign judgments in American courts. In this essay, the author focuses on Carter’s advocacy in three other important matters: his 1896 and 1898 briefs for the railroad defendants in the United States v. Trans-Missouri Freight Association and United States v. Joint Traffic Association, two important early interpretations of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and the brief he filed in 1897 on behalf of railroads in Smyth v. Ames, the case that established substantive due process limits on the legislative power to set railroad and utility rates. In these three cases, the author explores the way in which Carter’s jurisprudential and political views shaped his forensic arguments. In particular, he examines how his briefs reflected the mugwump political culture to which Carter, and many other late nineteenth-century urban lawyers, belonged.
James Coolidge Carter, Mugwump, Historical jurisprudence
Constitutional Law | Law
Grossman, Lewis. “The Benefits and Evils of Competition”: James Coolidge Carter’s Supreme Court Advocacy.” In Transformations in American Legal History: Essays in Honor of Professor Morton J. Horwitz, edited by Morton J Horwitz, Alfred Brophy and Daniel Hamilton, 142-168. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2009.