Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937
The Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937, frequently called the court-packing plan, was a legislative initiative to add more justices to the Supreme Court proposed by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt shortly after his victory in the 1936 presidential election. Although the bill aimed generally to overhaul and modernize all of the federal court system, its central and most controversial provision would have granted the President power to appoint an additional Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court for every sitting member over the age of 70½, up to a maximum of six.

During Roosevelt's first term in office, the Supreme Court had struck down several prominent New Deal measures intended to bolster economic recovery during the Great Depression, leading to charges from New Deal supporters that a narrow majority faction of the court was obstructionist and political. Since the U.S. Constitution does not limit the size of the Supreme Court, Roosevelt, having won an expanded electoral mandate in his reelection, sought to counter this entrenched opposition to his political agenda by expanding the number of justices to create a pro-New Deal majority on the bench. Opponents viewed the legislation as an attempt to stack the court leading to the name "Court-packing Plan".

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