The Volokh Conspiracy

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What is Court-Packing?


Over at Newsweek, I have a new piece on the history of number of justices on the Supreme Court and the long battle against packing the U.S. Supreme Court.

As Crocodile Dundee would say to Dick Durbin, "That's not Court-packing. That's Court-packing."

From the piece on Franklin Roosevelt's plan to "reorganize" the Court:

The Senate Judiciary Committee finally issued a report that one newspaper columnist privately characterized as "almost like a bill of impeachment." It denounced Roosevelt's proposal as being "in direct violation of the spirt of the American Constitution." It would create a "vicious precedent which must necessarily undermine our system." Court-packing "amounts to nothing more than the declaration that when the Court stands in the way of a legislative enactment, the Congress may reverse the ruling by enlarging the Court. When such a principle is adopted, our constitutional system is overthrown!"

Read the whole thing here.