Reorganization of the Supreme Court

Reorganization of the Supreme Court

Reorganization of the Supreme Court

Reorganization of the Supreme Court

Excerpt

On the 5th of February, 1937 President Roosevelt sent a message to Congress accompanied by a letter from the Attorney General and the draft of a proposed bill advocating the reorganization of the federal judiciary. One specific section of the proposal became of instant absorbing interest and controversy, that of adding to the number of justices on the Supreme Court. As the justices of the Court hold office for life and may not be required to resign, the President made the suggestion to add an additional justice for each justice who might remain on the court over six months after reaching the age of seventy, providing he had served on the bench for ten years, the total number of justices on the court at any time not to exceed fifteen. As six justices of the Supreme Court are seventy or over, the President would thus be entitled to appoint that number of new ones providing there was no resignation, under the usual procedure of approval by the Senate. The immediate result of the proposal was the precipitation of an intense and nation-wide discussion which has invaded all appropriate channels of public thought, the radio, press, platform, legislative forums, and other. In the short time it has been before the public as an active issue united movements as well as individual efforts have essayed to sway public opinion in favor of or against the plan, a lengthy hearing has been held before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and a flood of Congressional bills and alternative or modifying suggestions have been let loose.

Altho presented as part of a larger plan for the reorganization of government in the interests of greater efficiency, several specific factors have been of weight . . .

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