The Chief Justice and “Big Steve”

Todd C. Peppers

The Chief Justice and “Big Steve”Todd C. Peppers Large of girth, broad of gesture, and quick to scowl, the late Chief Justice Edward Douglass White was a commanding presence both on and off the Supreme Court bench. Of the Chief Justice, journalist Elbert F. Baldwin once wrote that White possessed a voice “like velvet” and “was the most impressivelooking of the company [the other justices]…no man in public life, not even President Taft, better deserves the adjective ‘ponderous.’” Other newspapers were kinder, referring to the fleshy White as having a “powerful physique.” Despite the unique figure cut by the Chief Justice, there came a time where when White himself learned that he had a doppelganger.His name was Archie M. “Big Steve” Stevenson, a Denver lawyer. Stevenson held different roles with the Republican National Committee, which required him to travel to Washington, DC while White served on the Court. In the newspaper article below, we learn of the Chief Justice’s efforts not to be mistaken for “Big Steve.”

Archie M. “Big Steve” Stevenson (left); Chief Justice Edward Douglass White (right).
“Justice White’s Double.” The Austin-American Stateman, January 26, 1911