James F. Simon. FDR and Chief Justice Hughes: The President, the Supreme Court, and the Epic Battle Over the New Deal. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012.
James F. Simon tells the dramatic story of the struggle between FDR and Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes that decided the fate of the New Deal. Roosevelt came to office in 1933 at the height of the Great Depression. Major New Deal statutes, which Roosevelt considered critical to the nation’s economic recovery, were struck down by the Hughes Court as unconstitutional. In 1936, FDR was reelected by a landslide and he proposed the appointment of an additional justice for each sitting member over seventy years old. The proposal would have permitted the president to stack the Court with justices favorable to the New Deal. The Chief deftly rebutted the claim that the Court was not abreast of its work, and the proposal was defeated. In grudging admiration, FDR later said that the Chief Justice was the best politician in the country.
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