So-Called Justice

Mon, 2017/02/13 - 1:57pm | Your editor
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The Trump “so-called judge” controversy is not new. What the President meant to say was “so-called justice”, a term used by his predecessor in the White House back in 1937 when his New Deal programs were blocked by conservative Supreme Court Justices. FDR sent a bill to Congress to add another six justices to the Supremes. He lost that vote because many Democrats opposed the measure which was locked in committee by Chairman Harry Ashurst who famously said: “No haste, no hurry, no waste, no worry.” It sat in the Senate Judiciary Committee for 165 days.

However, in the end FDR did get his way since one of the Supremes, Associate Justice Owen Roberts, switched his position to support New Deal measures like a minimum wage..The packing of the Court never took place the way Roosevelt intended, but the fact that it was even being considered caused the Supreme Court to take the law of public opinion into greater account, something which has characterized the third arm of US government ever since.

Current Supreme Court Chief Justice and swing voter John Roberts, no relation, studied under Owen Roberts. And Neil Gorsuch, the Trump nominee, studied under John Roberts. The Roosevelt attempt to control the third arm of government was defeated on constitutional grounds. The Congressional blockage of the Obama nominee last autumn was the closest we have come to a packed court since FDR tried it.


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