The United States Supreme Court has long been the subject of intense partisan political battles, but never more so than when President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to “pack” the Court in 1937.
Even though Roosevelt enjoyed huge majorities in both houses of Congress his proposal failed due primarily to bipartisan opposition from an Idaho and a Montana senator.
Marc C. Johnson, an Idaho writer, political observer and one-time aide to Governor Cecil D. Andrus, tells the story of how bipartisanship saved the Supreme Court in his new book Political Hell-Raiser: the Life and Times of Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana published by the University of Oklahoma Press.
Wheeler, a progressive Democrat, joined with his close personal and political friend William E. Borah, the legendary Idaho Republican, to thwart Roosevelt’s plans to enlarge the Supreme Court in what was one of the most bitter fights of FDR’s presidency.
Johnson will present a talk on role Senators Wheeler and Borah’s played in what one historian has called the greatest Constitutional crisis since the Civil War.
Copies of Johnson’s book will be available for purchase.