June 21, 2004

Court-Packing in Venezuela

FindLaw columnist and human rights attorney Joanne Mariner notes an interesting parallel between American history and Venezuelan current events.

Court-Packing in Venezuela
Monday, Jun. 21, 2004

In this country, decades ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt once tried to remake the U.S. Supreme Court. Frustrated by court rulings that had struck down progressive social legislation, FDR proposed a bill that would have allowed him to name six new justices to the Court.

FDR's plan failed and his court-packing strategy was discredited. Although U.S. presidents subsequent to him have disagreed strongly with some of the Supreme Court's rulings, their ability to capture seats on the Court is limited. Rather than reconfiguring the Court in one fell swoop, they must proceed member by member, as justices die or leave voluntarily. (More)