Limitations Of Judicial Power – Coursework Example

Limitations of Judicial Power Limitations of Judicial Power President Franklin Roosevelt presented a controversial “court-packing" plan that sought to reorganize the judiciary. Roosevelt’s suggestions included the expansion of the Supreme Court with the quest of increasing efficiency in the judiciary. He proposed the retirement of members of the court over 70 and selection of justices with full voting rights to give him a liberal majority (Murphy, Pritchett, Epstein, and Knight, 2006). Critics considered this a strategy to ‘pack’ the court and add more Supreme Court justices to support his New Deal. The senate struck down the reorganization plan by a vote of 70 to 20 because of the widespread opinion that it would limit judicial power.
Roosevelt was at the helm of his career after his victory in the 1936 election, but most of his opposition came from matters concerning the judiciary. The conservative judicial branch frustrated the president throughout his administration, and hence, he proposed a Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937. His attempts to pack the Supreme Court with as many as six supplementary justices resulted in congressional and public outcry. Some congressional members saw the plan as a threat to party harmony. The denunciation of the bill by a series of top Texas lawyers attracted countrywide attention (Fiss, 2006).
These actions were in excess of historic checks and balances. The proposal by the president symbolized the desire for unlimited power. In the main, the court plan was largely unconstitutional because it would undermine the checks and balances that govern the separation of powers in the United States. It would undermine a constitutional government that promoted democracy and Roosevelt unconstrained power. Justices should not face political pressure, as Roosevelt intended in his proposal. It would significantly undermine judicial independence and limit judicial power. The actions were impractical because it takes a considerable amount of time to alter the constitution.
Fiss, O. (2006). The History of the Supreme Court of the United States, Volume 8; Volume
2006. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Murphy, W. F., Pritchett, C. H., Epstein, L., & Knight, J. (2006). Courts, judges, and politics: An
introduction to the judicial process (6th Ed.). New York McGraw-Hill