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Letter to Senator Thomas D. Schall About the Appointment of a District Judge for Minnesota.

February 06, 1931

[Released February 6, 1931. Dated February 3, 1931]

My dear Senator Schall:

I have your letter of recent date in which you again urge the appointment of Mr. Ernest Michel as a United States Judge for the District of Minnesota, and I have borne in mind your long continued and earnest representations as to this appointment. I regret that I cannot do so. The Department of Justice, after careful investigation, as early as last June indicated its disapproval of Mr. Michel for this position. The Attorney General has given you his reasons therefor.

You appreciate, I am sure, my own responsibility in making appointments to the federal judiciary. The Constitution provides that the President shall first nominate and then, with the advice and consent of the Senate, make the appointment. The initiative of making the nomination is clearly with the President. It is apparent, therefore, that I have an independent obligation, as President, to nominate men for the federal judiciary who are not subject to any question as to their fitness.

I keenly realize the difficulties of your own personal situation. As you say, Mr. Michel is strongly supported by various political groups in Minnesota. I recognize the fact that he is a partner of an important supporter in your recent campaign. I am aware also of the implications which have been made of reprisals against this administration if I fail to agree to this appointment. My conception of my responsibilities does not, however, permit of my placing the appointment of judges on this basis.

No question of corporate influence or personal popularity does or should enter into this question. In the making of a nomination to fill the existing vacancy, I shall be glad to receive any suggestions which you may care to submit and suggest that you present to me eight or ten names of men whom you think would make fit appointees for United States District Judge in Minnesota--men whom you are sure will be dominated by no one--and from such a list I shall hope to find someone with fitness for that position.

Yours faithfully,


[Honorable Thomas D. Schall, United States Senate, Washington, D.C.]

Note: The President referred to Attorney General William D. Mitchell's letter of January 28, 1931. A copy of this letter is available for examination at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.

Herbert Hoover, Letter to Senator Thomas D. Schall About the Appointment of a District Judge for Minnesota. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/207175

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