John R. Hazel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the American jurist and politician. For the Scottish footballer, see John Hazel (footballer).
Judge Hazel swore-in Roosevelt as President

John Raymond Hazel (December 18, 1860–October 31, 1951) was a United States jurist and politician, best known for administrating the swearing-in ceremony of Theodore Roosevelt as the 26th President of the United States. He was a resident of Buffalo, New York.

Following the shooting of President William McKinley by Leon Czolgosz, Roosevelt had gone climbing in the Adirondack mountains, as at that time the president's medical condition was not viewed as life-threatening. When McKinley's condition worsened, a runner was sent to notify Roosevelt, who then returned to Buffalo.[1]

After McKinley's death, Roosevelt was inaugurated as president at the Ansley Wilcox House (now Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site) by Hazel, then U.S. District Judge (Western District of New York). Unlike other presidents, Roosevelt did not use the Bible.

Hazel, who served as a federal judge from 1900 to 1931, was also a delegate to the 1900 Republican National Convention (which nominated Roosevelt as its vice-presidential candidate.)[2]

Nomination controversy[edit]

Following President McKinley's nomination of Hazel, a group of five lawyers, representing the Buffalo Bar Association, traveled to New York City for the purpose of meeting with the Association of the Bar of the City of New York to express their opposition to Hazel's nomination, stating that he was unfitted for judgeship. Contemporaneous accounts indicate that it was a dispute between Platt and anti-Platt rings then prevalent in New York.[3]

Notable cases[edit]

In 1909, Judge Hazel issued an order cancelling the naturalization of Jacob A. Kersner, at the request of the U.S. Attorney's office, and thus stripping the citizenship of his ex-wife, the Anarchist orator Emma Goldman, who had gained U.S. citizenship in 1887 by her marriage to Kersner.[4] Ten years later, in 1919, the Wilson administration used Hazel's voiding of her citizenship as the basis for ruling that Goldman could be deported to Russia as an "alien anarchist," along with 248 other "undesirables," on the USAT Buford.

Judge Hazel heard the 1910-1913 lawsuit by the Wright brothers who alleged patent infringement against manufacturer Herring-Curtiss Company and inventor Glenn Curtiss. Hazel ruled in February 1913 for the Wrights, and on appeal a higher court agreed with this decision in 1914.[5] The decision was controversial for so favorably interpreting the uniqueness and priority of the technical achievements of the Wrights, and it has been argued that this broad interpretation of their intellectual property slowed aviation developments in the U.S.[6][7]


  1. ^ Morris, Rise, 777
  2. ^ Political Graveyard
  3. ^ "Lawyers Oppose Hazel's Appointment," New York Times (front page) (May 30, 1900)
  4. ^ "Emma Goldman Now Alien. Deprived of Rights of Citizenship by Disenfranchisement of Her Husband." New York Times, April 9, 1909, Page 2.
  5. ^ Head, James. 2008. Warped Wings. Mustang, Oklahoma, U.S.: Tate Publishing.
  6. ^ Shulman, Seth. Unlocking the Sky: Glenn Hammond Curtiss and the Race to Invent the Airplane. New York: Harper Collins, 2002. ISBN 0-06-019633-5.
  7. ^ Levine, David; Michele Boldrin (2008). Against intellectual monopoly. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-87928-6.