On this day in history–July 22, 1937–the U.S. Senate rejected the court-packing plan of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) by a vote of 70-20. After his landslide reelection to a second term as president, FDR proposed to expand the Supreme Court by adding one new justice for every sitting justice over the age of seventy. This scheme was defeated in Congress, but in his next three terms as president FDR appointed all the members of the Supreme Court, and these new justices were much more aligned with his economic reforms.
For more extensive history on this constitutional battle, these books in the Cornell Law Library will be of interest:
- The Supreme Court Reborn : The Constitutional Revolution in the Age of Roosevelt / William E. Leuchtenburg. New York : Oxford University Press. KF8742 .L65 1995
- Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Constitutional War : The Court-Packing Crisis of 1937 / Marian C. McKenna. New York : Fordham University Press. KF8742 .M356 2002
- Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Transformation of the Supreme Court / Stephen K. Shaw, William D. Pederson, and Frank J. Williams, editors. Armonk, N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe. KF8742 .F73x 2004
- Supreme Power : Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court / Jeff Shesol. New York, NY : W.W. Norton. KF8742 .S495x 2010