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James Clark McReynolds (1862-1946) was a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1914 to 1941. He was born in Kentucky.

Before his appointment to the Supreme Court, he was the Attorney General under President Woodrow Wilson. His career as Attorney General was marked by his zealous antitrust prosecutions.

In 1914 he was nominated by Wilson to the Supreme Court and confirmed by the Senate. Some say that Wilson's reason to nominate McReynolds was to remove him from the cabinet. On the bench, he became increasingly conservative. He was one of the "Four Horsemen" who consistently voted to strike down President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. In Four Horsemen's heyday many of the New Deal programs were invalidated by the Supreme Court. However, later a series of events, including Justice Owen Roberts's switching views and Hugo Black's appointment to the court, along with FDR's unsuccessful court-packing scheme, the Four Horsemen lost power and the New Deal was implemented.

However, McReynolds was also the author of two important civil liberties cases, Pierce v. Society of Sisters and Meyer v. Nebraska, making the first time that the court use the doctrine of substantive due process to protect noneconomic activities from government intervention (prior to that the court mostly used the due process doctrine as an excuse to strike down economic regulations such as minimum wage).

McReynolds was notorious for his anti-Semitic and racist views. He refused to sit next to Louis Brandeis, a Jewish justice, causing the court unable to take official photos for several years. He never married and did not have any children.

Justice McReynolds retired in 1941 and died in 1946, in Washington D.C.

The book The Forgotten Memoir of John Knox depicts a law school dropout who clerked for McReynolds for a year. According to the book, McReynolds' nickname was "Pussywillow" behind his back.

Note: Some facts added per kthejoker.

Sources: http://www.oyez.org/justices/james_c_mcreynolds/ http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/lib_hist/Courts/supreme/judges/jcm-bio.html http://www.michaelariens.com/ConLaw/justices/mcreynolds.htm

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