FDR Tries to Pack the Court

June 1, 1936. The Supreme Court hands down its last decision of the term. The justices have dealt blow after blow to President Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation, and today is no different: they rule against FDR again. It’s the last straw. Roosevelt is going to do something drastic – try to reshape the Supreme Court itself. Will FDR’s bold move get him what he wants? And how will the Court try to stop him?

Special thanks to our guests: Laura Kalman, professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara and author of FDR’s Gambit: The Court Packing Fight and the Rise of Legal Liberalism; and Michael Nelson, political science professor at Rhodes College and author of Vaulting Ambition: FDR's Campaign to Pack the Supreme Court. Thanks also to Clare Cushman, resident historian at the Supreme Court Historical Society.

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