Book cover of FDR's Gambit: The Court Packing Fight and the Rise of Legal Liberalism by Laura Kalmanby Laura Kalman

A comprehensive, engaging, and revisionist account of the Court fight that ties it to contemporary policy debates.

In the last past few years, liberals concerned about the prospect of long-term conservative dominance of the federal courts have revived an idea that famously crashed and burned in the 1930s: court packing. Not surprisingly, today’s court packing advocates have run into a wall of opposition, with most citing the 1930s episode as one FDR’s greatest failures. In early 1937, Roosevelt-fresh off a landslide victory-stunned the country when he proposed a plan to expand the size of the court by up to six justices. Today, that scheme is generally seen as an act of hubris-an instance where FDR failed to read Congress and the public properly.

Interview with the Author

Live at the National Constitution Center
FDR and the Transformation of the Supreme Court
12/22/22           56 min


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