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- The Court Packing Fight and the Rise of Legal Liberalism
- Lu par : Rebecca Gallagher
- Durée : 15 h et 35 min
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In the past few years, liberals concerned about the prospect of long-term conservative dominance of the federal courts have revived an idea that crashed and burned in the 1930s: court packing. Today's court packing advocates have run into a wall of opposition, with most citing the 1930s episode as one FDR's greatest failures. In early 1937, Roosevelt—fresh off a landslide victory—stunned the country when he proposed a plan to expand the size of the court by up to six justices. Today, that scheme is generally seen as an instance where FDR failed to read Congress and the public properly.
In FDR's Gambit, legal historian Laura Kalman challenges the conventional wisdom by telling the story as it unfolded. While scholars have portrayed the Court Bill as the ill-fated brainchild of a President made overbold by victory, Kalman argues that acumen, not arrogance, accounted for Roosevelt's actions. FDR came close to getting additional justices, and the Court itself changed course. As Kalman shows, the episode suggests that proposing a change in the Court might give the justices reason to consider whether their present course is endangering the institution and its vital role in a liberal democracy.
FDR's Gambit offers a novel perspective on the long-term effects of court packing.
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- michael klarman
fabulous, entertaining, and of obvious contemporary relevance
Laura Kalman is one of the finest 20th century historians at work today. A great deal has been written about FDR's court packing plan, but nobody has ransacked the archives in the way that Kalman has here. she revises what has become the accepted view that the court packing plan was doomed from the start. this is a gripping read and of obvious contemporary relevance, given that today's supreme court is the most conservative since the court of the four horsemen that frustrated the new deal in the mid-1930s. Informative even for experts on the subject but also a wonderful read for people interested in 1930s politics, constitutional evolution, and a colorful portrayal of both the justices and the leading politicians of the era.
Michael Klarman, Harvard law school.