IF EVIDENCE WERE LACKING THAT ROOSEVELT'S MASSIVE VICTORY at the polls had done something to him, he lost no time in supplying the proof. On February 4, 1937, just two weeks after his inauguration, the President sent word to Joe Robinson, his Senate leader, and Speaker Bankhead of the House to be present at a cabinet meeting that day and to bring with them Hatton Sumners and Senator Henry Ashurst, chairmen respectively of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. The cabinet and the invited legislators were present shortly before noon, assembled around the large table in the cabinet room, and all wondering what was in the air.5
Presently, somewhat late, the President was led in and took his seat at the head of the table. The clerk put on the table in front of each person several documents. The President looked at his watch and said he would not have very much time. He had sent for them to inform them that he was sending to Congress a message and the draft of a bill which proposed a reorganization of the Supreme Court. The bill would give him power to appoint a justice for every member of the Court who had reached the age of 70 and refused to retire, and he could appoint as many as six additional judges. He explained that this was necessary because, due to the age of the justices the Court was behind in its work, that the method of administering the Court's docket was defective and that the same rule applied to district and circuit judges would enable him to provide enough judges to keep up with the courts' lagging business.
He made a few more brief explanations, looked at his watch again and explained that he had a press conference in a few minutes, could wait no longer and went out of the room.