and the Coming
Even before the fight over additional justices for the U. S. Supreme Court began in early February 1937, rumors had reached Harold L. Ickes from inside the White House that one of the more conservative members of the court had expressed to Roosevelt a willingness to resign if the president would promise to appoint Jimmy Byrnes to the Court in his place. To the relief of Ickes and his friends, nothing more had come of the offer that year. Roosevelt apparently thought that he needed Byrnes to stay where he was, in the Senate working for passage of the court bill that would possibly gain FDR as many as six new Supreme Court justices. But as the chances for the administration's reorganization bill faded in 1937-38, and as Senator Byrnes continued to demonstrate his political mastery of the judicial system in preparing for hearings on the Santee-Cooper project, Jimmy Byrnes appeared very likely to be FDR's next pick for an available opening on the U. S. Supreme Court.
That likelihood seemed to grow when Justice Pierce Butler, one of the two remaining justices who had found most consistently against the New Deal in Court decisions of the mid-1930s, died in November 1939. Apparently the talk that Byrnes was to be nominated to Butler's chair was