Charles Evans Hughes' move to prominence came as chief counsel for two joint committees of the New York State legislature, where he exposed malpractices in the gas utilities and insurance companies. He was nominated for governor in 1906, and won the first of his first terms. In 1910 President William Howard Taft named him to the Supreme Court. Six years later, he accepted a draft for the Republican presidential nomination, but lost to Woodrow Wilson.
In 1921 he was named secretary of state by President Warren Harding. In 1930 President Herbert Hoover appointed Hughes chief justice of the Supreme Court. He led the philosophically divided court through the New Deal era. After the court found some of the New Deal legislation to be unconstitutional, including the Agricultural Adjustment Act and the National Industrial Recovery Act, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed increasing the size of the court. Hughes fought the "court-packing" efforts, which were defeated. At the same time, the court upheld the constitutionality of the National Labor Relations Act and the Society Security Act.