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.
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, Steele conferred with Bureau of Investigation Chief J. Edgar Hoover to investigate the justices. 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.
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. Hughes loudly expressed his indignation, proclaiming Hoover to be out of his mind, all for naught.
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. Steele quickly appointed replacements who came to be called "the Rubber Stamps" by Steele's opponents.
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.
After his death some years later, Hughes was succeeded as Chief Justice by Prescott Bush.