Selected Papers of Homer Cummings, Attorney General of the United States, 1933-1939

By Homer S. Cummings; Carl Brent Swisher | Go to book overview

11. The End of the Struggle over the Court Plan

[The essence of the President's proposal for judicial reform was deleted from the measure which finally passed the Congress in mid- August of 1937. The President in signing it frankly acknowledged its deficiencies. He also enumerated its accomplishments as follows: "No longer must the government stand idly by, a helpless spectator, while acts of Congress are stricken down by the courts. It expedites appeals to the Supreme Court in such matters. It seeks to improve intolerable situations created by the reckless granting by the lower courts of injunctions to restrain government officials in the operation of federal statutes. It tends slightly to relax the rigid system within circuits of assigning district judges to congested areas. All of these provisions possess merit and are either a part of, or consistent with, the plans originally submitted to the Congress." Ed.]


From "The President's Proposals for Judicial Reorganization," a radio address, February 14, 1937:

ATACKS upon the constitutionality of measures enacted by the Congress have burdened the courts. The powers of government are suspended by the automatic issuance of injunctions commanding officers and agents to cease enforcing the laws of the United States until the weary round of litigation has run its course.

In the uncertain condition of our constitutional law it is not difficult for the skillful to devise plausible arguments and to raise technical objections to almost any form of legislation that may be proposed. Ofttimes drastic injunctive remedies are applied without notice to the government or without opportunity upon the part of its representatives to be heard in defense of the law of the land.

-170-

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