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Mulford v. Smith

Significance, Justice Roberts Reverses Himself, Swing Vote


James H. Mulford


Nat Smith

Appellant's Claim

That penalties under the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 for overproduction are unconstitutional.

Chief Lawyers for Appellant

A. J. Little, L. E. Heath

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Omer W. Franklin

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, Felix Frankfurter, Charles Evans Hughes, Stanley Forman Reed, Owen Josephus Roberts (writing for the Court), Harlan Fiske Stone

Justices Dissenting

Pierce Butler, James Clark McReynolds (Louis D. Brandeis did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

17 April 1939


The Supreme Court upheld the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938.

Related Cases

  • United States v. Butler, 297 U.S. 1 (1936).
  • West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379 (1937).


Lance Liebman "Swing Man on the Supreme Court." The New York Times, 8 October 1972.

Further Readings

  • Badger, Anthony J. Prosperity Road: The New Deal, Tobacco, and North Carolina. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980.
  • Maidment, R. A. The Judicial Response to the New Deal: The U.S. Supreme Court and Economic Regulation, 1934-1936. New York, NY: Manchester University Press, 1991.
  • Saloutos, Theodore. The American Farmer and the New Deal. Ames: University of Iowa Press, 1982.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940