Lot 17: 1956-1958 United States SUPREME COURT Justices Signed Stamp Sheet Display
Historic Autographs, Civil War Encased Postage Stamps, Colonial, Revolutionary War, Federal Era, Coins, Currency, Medals
December 10, 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
1956-1958 United States SUPREME COURT Stamps Sheet
SUPREME COURT. "Earl Warren" as Chief Justice and "Hugo L. Black," "Felix Frankfurter," "W O Douglas," "Harold H. Burton," "Tom C. Clark," "John M. Harlan," "Wm. J. Brennan, Jr.," and "Charles E. Whittaker" as Associate Justices of the Supreme Court.
c. 1956-1958, Philatelic Display Signed, "Earl Warren" as Chief Justice and "Hugo L. Black," "Felix Frankfurter," "W O Douglas," "Harold H. Burton," "Tom C. Clark," "John M. Harlan," "Wm. J. Brennan, Jr.," and "Charles E. Whittaker" as Associate Justices of the Supreme Court on an 8.5" x 11" sheet of stationery engraved "Supreme Court of the United States / Washington, D.C." Choice Very Fine. Also Signing is, "John T. Fey / Clerk." Fey served as Clerk of the Supreme Court from 1956-1958 when he became President of the University of Vermont. Light rippling gives it a parchment-like effect. A 1950 Commemorative 50 years of the Supreme Court Postal Plate Block of ten 3 National Capital Sesquicentennial Stamps picturing the U.S. Supreme Court Building has been affixed beneath the "Supreme Court of the United States" official letterhead.
An additional pair of the 3 Supreme Court Stamps have been affixed beneath the plate block. Signing next to them are "Stanley Reed" and "Sherman Minton." On October 16, 1956, Associate Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. succeeded Minton. Whittaker took his seat on the Supreme Court on March 25, 1957, replacing Reed. On October 13, 1958, Associate Justice Harold H. Burton retired. The nine members who have signed this sheet as Supreme Court Justices served together from March 25, 1957 until October 13, 1958. Provenance: This signed philatelic display was in the collection of Lewis F. Shull, a President and Vice President of the American Stamp Dealers of America, and comes directly from the son of Lewis F. Shull.
On June 30, 1958, in a landmark case argued on January 15-16, 1958, Justice Harlan delivered this Supreme Court's unanimous 9-0 decision in favor of the plaintiff in NAACP v. Alabama.
The state of Alabama had ordered the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to reveal to the State's Attorney General the names and addresses of all the NAACP's members and agents in the state. The Court thought that if these lists were made public, violent acts might be made against its members.
A compelled disclosure of the NAACP's membership lists would have the effect of suppressing legal association among the group's members and violate the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, one of the "Reconstruction Amendments" passed after the Civil War. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment was the basis for the unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education just four years earlier in 1954.