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FDR’s court-packing scheme was a ‘humiliating’ defeat

George Washington had six. Abraham Lincoln had 10. And Franklin D. Roosevelt, who has the distinction of being elected to more terms than any other president, wanted 15. Supreme Court justices, to be exact.

Democrats angry about Senate Republicans’ refusal to vote on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland are reviving a New Deal-era idea to increase the number of justices, to re-balance the court in their favor. But the defeat of Roosevelt’s “court-packing” proposal in 1937 was one of worst moments of his presidency, and he was rebuked and embarrassed by his own party.

It started on May 27, 1935 — known back then as “Black Monday.” On a single day, the Supreme Court struck down three of President Roosevelt’s signature New Deal laws.

At the time, Democrats controlled the House, Senate and White House, but the court, led by Chief Justice Charles E. Hughes, was a Republican and 75 years old. Because of a New Deal cut in Supreme Court pensions, the older justices were disinclined to retire.

Read entire article at Washington Post