Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt Vs. the Supreme Court

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, 2010 - 644 pages

Beginning in 1935, in a series of devastating decisions, the Supreme Court's conservative majority left much of FDR's agenda in ruins. The pillars of the New Deal fell in short succession. It was not just the New Deal, but democracy itself, that stood on trial. In February 1937, Roosevelt struck back with an audacious plan to expand the Court to fifteen justices—and to “pack” the new seats with liberals who shared his belief in a “living” Constitution.

The ensuing fight was a firestorm that engulfed the White House, the Court, Congress, and the nation. The final verdict was a shock. It dealt FDR the biggest setback of his political life, split the Democratic party, and set the stage for a future era of Republican dominance. Yet the battle also transformed America's political and constitutional landscape, hastening the nation's march into the modern world.

This brilliant work of history unfolds like a thriller, with vivid characters and unexpected twists. Providing new evidence and fresh insight, Jeff Shesol shows why understanding the Court fight is essential to understanding the presidency, personality, and legacy of FDR—and to understanding America at a crossroads in its history.

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User Review  - Schmerguls - LibraryThing

5738. Supreme Power Franklin Roosevelt vs. The Supreme Court by Jeff Shesol (read 6 Mar 2021) This is a most readable account of the effort in 1937 by FDR to change the Supreme Court so it would quit ... Read full review

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User Review  - jmcilree - LibraryThing

it’s an interesting subject and the first part of the book, describing the court cases is much more interesting than the second part describing the fight over court-packing. What I found wanting is a ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Jeff Shesol is the author of Supreme Power and Mutual Contempt, both selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He is a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and is a founding partner of West Wing Writers.

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