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Courts

New Deal

2020

Notre Dame Law School

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The Judicial Reforms Of 1937, Barry Cushman Jan 2020

The Judicial Reforms Of 1937, Barry Cushman

Journal Articles

The literature on reform of the federal courts in 1937 understandably focuses on the history and consequences of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ill-fated proposal to increase the membership of the Supreme Court. A series of decisions declaring various components of the New Deal unconstitutional had persuaded Roosevelt and some of his advisors that the best way out of the impasse was to enlarge the number of justiceships and to appoint to the new positions jurists who would be “dependable” supporters of the Administration’s program. Yet Roosevelt and congressional Democrats also were deeply troubled by what they perceived as judicial obstruction …