Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Alton on Jackson and the Court-Packing Plan

Stephen R. Alton, Texas A&M University School of Law, has dipped into his backlist and published  Loyal Lieutenant, Able Advocate: The Role of Robert H. Jackson in Franklin D. Roosevelt's Battle with the Supreme Court, which appeared in the William & Mary Bill of Rights 5 (1997): 527-618:
This Article presents a chronological, narrative account of Jackson's participation in the court fight over Roosevelt's so-called "court packing plan." The larger history of that campaign and its players also are presented in order to illuminate Jackson's role. Although a number of secondary works-both old and new-review the history of the fight, the main purpose here is to relate Jackson's part in this larger history, drawing on. those secondary works only to the extent that they are helpful. This Article first recounts the historical background of the tension between the New Deal and the Supreme Court as well as the Roosevelt administration's proposed solution to the problem. An examination of Jackson's initial efforts on behalf of the administration in its struggle with the Court follows.

Next, the Article presents an analysis of the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings on the proposed legislation to reorganize the federal judiciary, with particular emphasis placed on Jackson's testimony before that body. A discussion of Jackson's post-hearings participation in the combat over the Supreme Court follows, after which the Article continues with a brief look at the Court's surprising about-face and the death of the President's plan. The Article concludes with comments about Roosevelt's struggle with the Supreme Court and the importance of Jackson's role in that struggle.

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