Roosevelt Tries To ‘Pack’ the Supreme Court

1937

After the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the National Industrial Recovery Act, Agricultural Adjustment Act, and other New Deal legislation as unconstitutional, President Franklin D. Roosevelt complains that the Court is still operating in the “horse and buggy” era, out of step with the times. Unable to appoint any justices during his first term, he follows his landslide reelection with a proposal to expand the Court by adding one new justice for every sitting justice over the age of 70. This “court-packing” plan bitterly divides congressional Democrats and is never adopted. Yet, in his next three terms as president, Roosevelt will be able to appoint all the members of the Supreme Court, and the new justices will be more sympathetic to expanded federal regulation of the economy.