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Today in legal history...

Friday, February 05, 2010

FDR proposed "court-packing" plan
JURIST Staff at 12:01 AM ET

On February 5, 1937, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, frustrated with the US Supreme Court's treatment of some of his economic reforms, proposed a plan to add judges to that and other federal courts whenever a sitting judge reached the age of seventy but declined to retire.

Critics accused Roosevelt of indulging in autocracy and "court-packing.". Listen to Roosevelt's "fireside chat" on the proposal from March 9, 1937, and review the text of his address. Roosevelt eventually dropped the initiative, but was nonetheless able to fill seven vacancies on the Court over the next four years, achieving his goal indirectly.

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