The White Court (1910–21)


What famous rule did the Court adopt in the Standard Oil case?

Chief Justice White established the so-called “rule of reason” that should guide courts when they are asked to determine whether there has been an antitrust, unreasonable restraint of trade allegation. This rule enables the courts to apply a rule of reasonableness to determine whether certain corporate actions were unreasonable enough to constitute a violation of the antitrust law. Supreme Court scholar Bernard Schwartz wrote in his A History of the Supreme Court (1993) that the rule of reason was “the principal legal legacy of White’s Court tenure.”

Cars enter and exit a Standard Oil filling station in 1915. Standard Oil was the defendant in a 1911 Supreme Court case in which the Court affirmed a lower court ruling that said that Standard Oil was monopolizing the petroleum industry. Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

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