For almost sixty years, the results of the New Deal have been an accepted part of political life. Social Security, to take one example, is now seen as every American's birthright. But to validate this revolutionary legislation, Franklin Roosevelt had to fight a ferocious battle against the opposition of the Supreme Court--which was entrenched in ...
For almost sixty years, the results of the New Deal have been an accepted part of political life. Social Security, to take one example, is now seen as every American's birthright. But to validate this revolutionary legislation, Franklin Roosevelt had to fight a ferocious battle against the opposition of the Supreme Court--which was entrenched in laissez faire orthodoxy. After many lost battles, Roosevelt won his war with the Court, launching a Constitutional revolution that went far beyond anything he envisioned. In The Supreme Court Reborn, esteemed scholar William E. Leuchtenburg explores the critical episodes of the legal revolution that created the Court we know today. Leuchtenburg deftly portrays the events leading up to Roosevelt's showdown with the Supreme Court. Committed to laissez faire doctrine, the conservative Four Horsemen--Justices Butler, Van Devanter, Sutherland, and McReynolds, aided by the swing vote of Justice Owen Roberts--struck down one regulatory law after another, outraging Roosevelt and much of the Depression-stricken nation. Leuchtenburg demonstrates that Roosevelt thought he had the backing of the country as he prepared a scheme to undermine the Four H
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Publishers Weekly, 1995-01-30 Eminent historian Leuchtenburg (Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal) has collected nine lectures and essays on the remarkable activity of the Supreme Court during FDR's presidency. While the essays are detailed enough for scholars, they remain quite readable, and the author engages other scholars to place his subject in context. He devotes several essays to FDR's ``ill-fated `Court-packing' scheme of 1937,'' noting that its genesis was not capricious but generated from ``an inherent logic''; he also reflects on the public passions and political disruption this attempt to displace aged, conservative judges created. During that period, in 1937, the Court began an ``astonishing about-face,'' upholding laws increasing state power. Leuchtenburg notes how different scholars have drawn on that period to justify or decry judicial activism. Other essays assesses Buck v. Bell, the inspiration for Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes's infamous ``Three generations of imbeciles are enough'' quote, and the process and politics behind the Court nomination of Hugo Black, who had concealed his past in the Ku Klux Klan. (Mar.)
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