President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal During The Great Depression

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Court-Packing By: JT Page President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "New Deal", a series of economic programs designed to counter the devastating effects of the Great Depression, faced many challenges in the courts. During President Roosevelt's first term in office, the Supreme Court struck down several provisions and statutes included in New Deal programs; including the National Industrial Recovery Act, the Railroad Retirement Act, and the Agricultural Adjustment Act. On February 8, 1937, the Senate Judiciary Committee met to consider President Roosevelt's request to increase membership on the Supreme Court. To counter the impact of the Court's decisions on the New Deal reforms, President Roosevelt proposed legislation that would have altered the makeup of the Supreme Court. The Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937, which provided for broad reform of the federal judicial system, allowed President Roosevelt to appoint an additional member to the Supreme Court for every sitting justice over the age of 70, which would have resulted in a total of six new justices at the time the bill was introduced. Despite the fact that the Constitution does not limit the size of the Supreme…show more content…
The Roosevelt administration was dealt another setback, however, when, less than two weeks into the vigorous floor debate, Senate Majority Leader Joseph T. Robinson - a principal support of the legislation - died of a heart attack. The loss of Robinson dashed the administration's hopes of successful passage of the original legislation. On July 22, 1937, the full Senate voted to send the bill back to the Senate Judiciary Committee where many of the provisions, including providing for additional justices to the Supreme Court, were eventually stripped. Finally, on August 26, 1937, the Senate passed an amended version of the Judiciary Reorganization Bill which did not include a provision to increase the number of Supreme Court
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