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Yes, You Gave Me Authority to Pick My Kind of Umpire Last November! drawing by Clifford Berryman, June 9, 1937

President Franklin D. Roosevelt believed his landslide reelection in 1936 was a mandate to enact further New Deal policies. He submitted to Congress his Judicial Procedures Reform Bill. Ostensibly aimed at easing the Supreme Court’s burden of cases, it would have enabled Roosevelt to appoint up to six additional Supreme Court justices supportive of his regulatory goals.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Yes, You Gave Me Authority to Pick My Kind of Umpire Last November!

Congress Opposes Court Packing Plan

President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office during the Great Depression and instituted sweeping economic regulations and reforms to establish “a New Deal for Americans.” With a Democratic majority in Congress, he pushed through New Deal legislation, but the Supreme Court’s conservative majority declared many key statutes unconstitutional. In 1937 Roosevelt proposed a Judicial Procedures Reform Bill that would have allowed him to expand the Supreme Court and appoint new justices sympathetic to his agenda. Congress strongly opposed the presidents’ “court packing” plan.

Somebody has got to know the road and how to guide or we may pile up in the ditch. There has got to be somebody around who appreciates that there are times when the foot should be shifted from the accelerator to the brakes.

Representative Hatton W. Sumners of Texas, Letter to Marvin McIntyre, January 12, 1937