Note: Judgepedia will be read-only from 9pm CST on February 25-March 9 while Judgepedia is merged into Ballotpedia.
Starting on March 9, all Judgepedia content will be contained on For status updates, visit

Frederick Vinson

From Judgepedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Frederick Vinson
Frederick Vinson portrait.png
Current Court Information:
Supreme Court of the United States
Title:   Former Chief Justice
Position:   Seat #1
Appointed by:   Harry Truman
Active:   6/21/1946-9/8/1953
Preceded by:   Harlan Fiske Stone
Succeeded by:   Earl Warren
Past post:   D.C. Circuit
Past term:   12/15/1937-5/28/1943
Personal History
Born:   January 22, 1890
Hometown:   Louisa, KY
Deceased:   September 8, 1953
Undergraduate:   Centre College, 1909
Law School:   Centre College, 1911
Military service:   U.S. Army, 1917-1919

Frederick Moore Vinson (1890-1953) was the thirteenth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1946 until his death on September 8, 1953. He joined the court in 1946 after a nomination from President Harry Truman. At the time of his nomination, he was the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Vinson also served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit. He joined that court in 1937 after a nomination from Franklin D. Roosevelt and served until 1943.[1]

Vinson was one of nine justices nominated to Supreme Court by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Prior to becoming Chief Justice, Vinson served in The Hughes Court and The Stone Court.[2]

Early life and education

Vinson received his undergraduate degree and LL.B from Centre College in 1909 and 1911, respectively.[1]

Military service

Vinson was a Private and Officer Trainee in the United States Army, serving from 1917 to 1919.[1]

Professional career

  • 1945-1946: United States Treasury Secretary
  • 1945: Director, Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion
  • 1945: Administrator, Federal Loan Administration
  • 1943-1945: Director, Office of Economic Stabilization
  • 1942-1943: Chief Judge, U.S. Emergency Court of Appeals
  • 1931-1938: U.S. Representative from Kentucky
  • 1929-1931: Attorney, private practice
  • 1923-1929: U.S. Representative from Kentucky
  • 1921-1924: Commonwealth attorney, Kentucky District Court 32
  • 1919-2924: Attorney, private practice
  • 1913: City Attorney for Louisa, Kentucky
  • 1911-1917: Attorney, private practice[1]

Judicial career

Supreme Court

Justice Vinson was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Harry Truman on June 6, 1946, to replace Harlan Fiske Stone. He was confirmed by the Senate on June 20th and received commission on June 21st. He served in the role of Chief Justice until his death on September 8, 1953.[1] He was succeeded to this post by Earl Warren.

District of Columbia Circuit

Vinson served on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1937 to May 28, 1943. He was nominated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on November 26, 1937, to replace Charles Henry Robb. He was confirmed by the Senate on December 9th, and received commission on December 15th.[1] He was succeeded in this post by Wilbur Miller.

Notable case

Author: Frederick Vinson (wrote a plurality opinion)

Vote Count: 6-2

Majority Justices: Reed, Burton, Minton

Concurring Justices: Frankfurter, Jackson

Dissenting Justices: Black, Douglas

Gravity of advocating government overthrow enough for conviction (1950)

The Smith Act was created to prevent others from gathering, teaching and conspiring to overthrow the United States government. In 1948, the leaders of the Communist Party were arrested and convicted according to the Act. On June 4, 1951, in a 6-2 decision with Justice Clark not participating, the Supreme Court affirmed the previous decisions, determining that the Act did not violate their First Amendment rights. In the plurality opinion, the court distinguished between advocating and discussing the issue, with advocating being a danger to the United States. With the gravity of advocating a more severe problem, the determination of whether or not the group could be successful was not necessary.[3]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Charles Henry Robb
DC Court of Appeals
Succeeded by:
Wilbur Miller
Preceded by:
Harlan Fiske Stone
Supreme Court
Seat #1
Succeeded by:
Earl Warren