In Quest of Freedom: American Political Thought and Practice

By Alpheus Thomas Mason McCormick; Richard H. Leach | Go to book overview

19
INEVITABLE CONFLICT

THE SINGLE OBSTACLE PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT SAW ON the road ahead as he looked down it in 1936 was the Supreme Court. An unprecedented popular majority had elected him for the second time, the Congress was predominantly Democratic, and a majority of states had both governors and legislatures sympathetic to him. Only the Supreme Court had failed to climb on the New Deal bandwagon. On the contrary, the Court had woven a tight constitutional web to bind government at all levels. The implacable four--Justices Butler, McReynolds, Van Devanter, and Sutherland--were firmly convinced that government, state and national, should give up any attempt to control economic affairs. Chief Justice Hughes and Justice Roberts swung unpredictably from side to side, sometimes opposing each other. But in the two most power

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