The Supreme Court Reborn: Constitutional Revolution in the Age of Roosevelt

William E. Leuchtenburg, Author
William E. Leuchtenburg, Author Oxford University Press, USA $30 (368p) ISBN 978-0-19-508613-3
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-19-511131-6
Open Ebook - 350 pages - 978-1-280-76131-7
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Eminent historian Leuchtenburg (Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal) has collected nine lectures and essays on the remarkable activity of the Supreme Court during FDR's presidency. While the essays are detailed enough for scholars, they remain quite readable, and the author engages other scholars to place his subject in context. He devotes several essays to FDR's ``ill-fated `Court-packing' scheme of 1937,'' noting that its genesis was not capricious but generated from ``an inherent logic''; he also reflects on the public passions and political disruption this attempt to displace aged, conservative judges created. During that period, in 1937, the Court began an ``astonishing about-face,'' upholding laws increasing state power. Leuchtenburg notes how different scholars have drawn on that period to justify or decry judicial activism. Other essays assesses Buck v. Bell, the inspiration for Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes's infamous ``Three generations of imbeciles are enough'' quote, and the process and politics behind the Court nomination of Hugo Black, who had concealed his past in the Ku Klux Klan. (Mar.)
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