Charles Evans Hughes
Charles Evans Hughes.jpg
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1862
Date of Death: 1948
Cause of Death: Natural causes
Religion: Baptist
Occupation: Educator, Lawyer, Politician, Author of Non-Fiction
Parents: David Hughes,
Mary Connelly
Spouse: Antoinette Carter (d. 1945)
Children: Four
Political Party: Republican Party
Political Office(s): Governor of New York State,
U.S. Secretary of State,
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, later Chief Justice of the United States
Fictional Appearances:
The War That Came Early
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
Appearance(s): Coup d'Etat
Type of Appearance: Direct
Political Office(s): Chief Justice of the United States
Joe Steele
POD: 1878;
Relevant POD: July, 1932
Novel or Story?: Both
Type of Appearance: Direct
Political Office(s): Chief Justice of the United States

Charles Evans Hughes, Sr. (April 11, 1862 – August 27, 1948) was a lawyer and Republican politician from New York. He served as the 36th Governor of New York (1907–1910), Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1910–1916), United States Secretary of State (1921–1925) under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, and the 11th Chief Justice of the United States (1930–1941). He was the Republican candidate in the 1916 election for President of the United States, narrowly losing to incumbent Woodrow Wilson. Hughes was an important leader of the progressive movement of the 1900s, a leading diplomat and New York lawyer in the days of Harding and Coolidge, and a leader of opposition to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal in the 1930s.

Charles Evans Hughes in The War That Came Early[]

On January 20, 1941, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes administered the oath of office to President Franklin D. Roosevelt for an unprecedented third time. This event came just eight days after Japan attacked the United States, which rather dampened the mood.

While listening to the inauguration on the radio, Peggy Druce recalled that Hughes had been Woodrow Wilson's Republican opponent in the 1916 election and that he would have won the election if he had won California. She reflected that the world would be a different place if Hughes had become President but she was uncertain as to how.[1]

Charles Evans Hughes in Joe Steele[]

The last decade of Charles Evans Hughes's term as Chief Justice of the United States coincided with the first half of Joe Steele's presidency. Like many in government, Hughes was appalled by Steele's increasing disregard for the Constitution, but was quickly cowed by Steele's harsh reprisal against critics.

After the Supreme Court ruled several key pieces of Steele's Four Year Plan unconstitutional,[2] Steele conferred with Bureau of Investigation Chief J. Edgar Hoover to investigate the justices.[3] Then he gave a radio speech in which he denounced the Supreme Court as nine old men who were not elected, and who were actively wrecking the country. Steele implied the Court's actions were deliberate, and promised that there would be an investigation.[4]

Hoover discovered "evidence" that four justices, James McReynolds, Pierce Butler, Willis Van Devanter, and George Sutherland, were in fact colluding with foreign powers against the United States. In February 1934, Hoover led a group of agents to very publicly arrest the so-called Supreme Court Four for treason while they were in the middle of deliberations.[5] Hughes loudly expressed his indignation, proclaiming Hoover to be out of his mind, all for naught.[6]

The Supreme Court Four were tried by a military tribunal in September. They were convicted after entering guilty pleas, and executed a few weeks later.[7] Steele quickly appointed replacements who came to be called "the Rubber Stamps" by Steele's opponents.[8]

Hughes stayed on as Chief Justice. He swore Steele in for a second time on January 20, 1937 in a cold and pouring rain. Steele seemed to enjoy Hughes' discomfort, and at least one reporter present had a sneaking suspicion as to Steele's wishes.[9]

After his death some years later, Hughes was succeeded as Chief Justice by Prescott Bush.

Literary comment[]

The Chief Justice also appears at Steele's second inauguration in the short story. Hughes isn't named, but there is no reason to think someone else was Chief Justice.


  1. Coup d'Etat, Chapter 1.
  2. Joe Steele, pg.71-72, HC.
  3. Ibid., pg. 73-74.
  4. Ibid., pgs. 76-77.
  5. Ibid., pgs. 83-84.
  6. Ibid.,pg. 83.
  7. Ibid., pgs. 111, 117-118.
  8. Ibid., pg. 125.
  9. Ibid., pgs. 138-139.