July 22nd 1937: Congress kills FDR’s ‘Court-packing’ plan

July 22nd 1937: Congress kills FDR’s ‘Court-packing’ plan

On this day in 1937, the United States Senate voted down President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s plan to add more justices to the Supreme Court. The Court, under Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, had repeatedly struck down key elements of the President’s ‘New Deal’ programme to end the Great Depression. FDR threatened to increase the number of justices on the Court by adding 6 associate justices to assist the elder justices. Thus, the President would have been able to ‘pack’ the Court with his supporters and get his legislation upheld. Congress struck down these provisions of the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill. However, the Court responded to the President’s threat and did begin to vote more favourably on New Deal legislation.

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