Flushed with victory from an unprecedented landslide of historic proportions, second-term Roosevelt was emboldened to strike at his political enemies with new vigor and venom. Angered by the invalidation of much New Deal legislation by what a White House aide sneeringly called a “horse and buggy” Supreme Court, the president launched his fight against the justices. His proposed Judicial Reform bill would have enabled the president to appoint six new Supreme Court justices for every member past age 70 who refused to retire. Eighty-year-old Justice Louis D. Brandeis, a liberal pro—New Dealer, was shocked and believed that Roosevelt had made a serious mistake. Democratic national chairman James Farley, although he publicly cooperated with the president in rounding up congressional votes for the measure, was known to privately oppose what became known as the “Court packing” bill. Democratic floor leaders in Congress who had received little or no advanced notice were even more annoyed by the president’s bombshell. Democratic majority leader in the Senate Joe Robinson was opposed, as was a passel of New Deal and liberal senators, including Burton K. Wheeler, Joseph C. Mahoney, David Walsh and George Norris. Wheeler, in a radio talk, warned Americans that Roosevelt was trying to create a “political court” controlled by the president that might at some future time “cut down those guarantees of liberty written by the blood of your forefathers.”


Swedish Government Congressional Vote Midterm Election Supreme Court Justice Public Relation Firm 
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© Melvin G. Holli 2002

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  • Melvin G. Holli

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