Little did you know that when you penned your article nearly 8 years ago, it would still be relevant today.
Another similarity between "then and now" popped up this morning.
FDR accomplished a lot in the early years of his presidency, but he faced strong opposition from business leaders - and he also was frustrated by the courts of the day.
Over the course of the depression, Roosevelt was pushing through legislation and, beginning in May 1935, the Supreme Court began to strike down a number of the New Deal laws. “Over the next 13 months, the court struck down more pieces of legislation than at any other time in U.S. history".
FDR's remedy was to "pack the courts". His plan was to attempt to appoint up to six additional justices to the Supreme Court for every justice older than 70 years, 6 months, who had served 10 years or more.
While it was never voted on in Congress, the Supreme Court justices went public in their opposition to it. And a majority of the public never supported the bill, either, says Barbara A. Perry, director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.
“Congress and the people viewed FDR’s ill-considered proposal as an undemocratic power grab,” she says. “The chief justice (Charles Evans Hughes) testified before Congress that the Court was up to date in its work, countering Roosevelt’s stated purpose that the old justices needed help with their caseload.”
Unless you're deaf, dumb, and blind, you'll recognize that Mitch McConnell is doing exactly the same thing today, starting with his refusal to call for a vote on Merrick Garland.
Recently, he just got his tit caught in a wringer when he nominated Justin Walker to replace Thomas Griffith, who suddenly decided to retire at the age of 65. Walker's nomination is controversial because he is not just an extreme partisan but is so woefully inexperienced in conducting law that the American Bar Association deemed him unqualified for the job McConnell handed to him last fall, on the district court where he now serves.
The chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Judge Sri Srinivasan, has requested an inquiry into whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and retired Judge Thomas B. Griffith engineered the latter's retirement so McConnell could install a protégé. Srinivasan has asked Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to assign the inquiry to another circuit.
You may also remember that Brett Kavanagh was nominated to replace Anthony Kennedy, who conveniently decided to retire at the age of 82. After the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor in 2006, Kennedy was the swing vote on many of the Roberts Court's 5–4 decisions. Conveniently, Kennedy's son Justin worked for Deutche Bank from 1997 to 2009. As the head of global real estate capital markets, he had more than a passing familiarity with Donald Trump. Trump leveraged that relationship to replace a "swing vote" judge (Kennedy) with the MOST conservative member of the current court (Kavanagh).
Kavanaugh was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit by President Bush in 2003. His confirmation hearings were contentious; they stalled for three years over charges of partisanship. He was ultimately confirmed to the D.C. Circuit in May 2006 after a series of negotiations between Democratic and Republican U.S. Senators. An evaluation of Kavanaugh's appellate court decisions in four separate public policy areas was performed by two law professors for the Washington Post. It found he had the most conservative overall voting record on the D.C. Court between 2003 and 2018.
McConnell's court packing efforts have made news before, including his campaign of leaning on Republican federal judges to get them to retire so he can install very young and extreme partisans in their seats. McConnell and Trump have already filled more than one-quarter of the appeals court seats, but McConnell won't rest until he's got the maximum possible, even if that means prying out Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II-appointed judges.
McConnell called the senate back into session on Monday of this week to take care of "urgent business". That "urgent business" did not include the 395 House bills that are sitting on "the grim reaper's desk". The only thing that he is concerned about is getting more conservative judges confirmed.