05 February, 2021

February 5, 1937

FDR attempts to pack the Court.

With lifetime appointments, it’s not unusual for Supreme Court justices to serve well past the average U.S. retirement age of 63. (Ruth Bader Ginsberg died at age 87 while still serving on the court and Antonin Scalia died at age 79 while still a Supreme Court justice.)

But in the late 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to put restrictions on the court when it came to age. Largely seen as a political ploy to change the court for favorable rulings on New Deal legislation, the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937, commonly referred to as the “court-packing plan,” was Roosevelt’s attempt to appoint up to six additional justices to the Supreme Court for every justice older than 70 years, 6 months, who had served 10 years or more.

Fortunately for us, even the Democrats of his time were upset with this idea. Actually, at that particular time they were upset with a lot of President Franklin Roosevelt’s (D-USA) ideas. So, FDR’s plan went nowhere.

If President Joe Biden (D-USA) suggested such a thing today? Who knows.

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