Joe Biden in 2005: ‘The Senate Stood Firm in 1937 in Court-Packing Attempt’

‘Roosevelt, corrupted by power, unveiled his court packing plan’


BIDEN: "The president had enough members in his own party and the Senate to convict him, but members of the president's own party stood up to their president, the Senate as an institution stood against the executive overreaching in his own party. The Senate again stood firm in '37 in the court-packing attempt. This particular example, the Senate's resolve is instructive to today's debates, so let me describe in some detail. In the summer of '37, Roosevelt had just come off of a landslide victory over Alf Landon. He had a Congress made up off of solid New Dealers, but the nine old men of the Court were thwarting his agenda. In this environment, Roosevelt — I remember this old adage about power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely — corrupted by power, in my view, unveiled his court-packing plan. He wanted to increase the number of justices to 15, allowing himself to nominate those additional judges. It took an act of courage on the part of his own party institutionally to stand up against this power grab.”

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