Cummings, Homer S.

1938 official portrait inscribed to the 1st Asst. Postmaster General by FDR's dynamic Attorney General

Price: $110.00

Description:
(1870-1956) US Attorney General (FDR) 1933-39. Yale Law 1893, practiced law in Stamford, Ct., elected Stamford mayor 1900, 1901 & 1904, Chairman of Democratic National Committee 1919-21. During the 1924 Democratic Convention, Cummings tried to formulate a compromise plank on the controversial issue of the KKK and supported westerner Wm. G. McAdoo over Al Smith for the presidential nomination. In 1932, he helped persuade 24 senators and numerous congressmen to publicly support FDR, and at the Chicago convention, planned strategy, operated as floor manager, and delivered a resounding seconding speech for Franklin Roosevelt. After the election, FDR chose Cummings as governor-general of the Philippines, but 2 days before Inauguration, the Attorney General designee died and FDR named Cummings to lead the Justice Department on taking office March 4, 1933. Cummings served almost 6 years as AG, transforming the Department by establishing uniform rules of practice & procedure in federal courts, securing passage of 12 laws to buttress the "Lindbergh Law" on kidnapping, made bank robbery a federal crime, cracked down on interstate transportation of stolen property, and extended federal regulations over firearms. He strengthened the FBI, called a national crime conference, supported establishment of Alcatraz as a prison for hardened offenders, and reorganized the Department's internal administration. He served as chief protector of New Deal programs, and during his 1st week as AG, advised FDR that the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 permitted the president to close banks and regulate gold hoarding and export. Cummings personally argued the right of the government to ban gold payments before the Supreme Court and won the "gold clause"" cases. However, during 1935-36, the Court overthrew 8 key statutes, including the NIRA and AAA. Frustrated over the conservative nature of the Court and the proliferation of lawsuits and injunctions against the government, FDR was eager to expand the judiciary. After the 1936 presidential election, FDR instructed Cummings to draft legislation for court reform, neither man wishing to alter the Constitution. Both liked an idea proposed earlier by conservative Justice James McReynolds to add a judge for every judge who refused to retire at full pay at age 70. Such a measure might give FDR the opportunity to appoint 50 new judges, including 6 to the Supreme Court. Roosevelt launched the proposal, prepared secretly by Cummings, on Feb. 5, 1937; the uproar over the "Court-packing plan" helped kill the bill. Cummings retired Jan. 2, 1939, entering private law practice in Washington. ISP, 13 1/2 x 10 1/2 large sepia photograph of Cumming's official oil portrait as Attorney General, inscribed to 1st Asst. Postmaster General Wm. w. Howes "with the abiding friendship and best wishes", signed and date December 31 1938.

Condition: Very good
Type:Photograph






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