F.D.R.'s Scheme

Known as the Nine Old Men, they make today's Justices seem spry. In the mid-1930s, six members of the Supreme Court were over 70, and none was younger than 61. A majority was highly conservative on economic questions and deeply suspicious of the power of the Federal Government. The court took a dim view of President Roosevelt's economic recovery program, striking down one piece of New Deal legislation after another, starting with the National Industrial Recovery Act in 1935.

After his landslide victory the following year, Roosevelt tried to neutralize his judicial nemeses by...

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