In Defense of the Roosevelt Court
Florida A. & M. University Law Review, 2007
79 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2008
The overriding purpose of the New Deal was to create opportunities for the common person to acquire a stake in society. The Roosevelt appointees to the Supreme Court were unwilling to allow either entrenched wealth or arbitrary governmental action to interfere with that objective. They remade the Constitution, but in so doing they returned the Constitution to its original purpose - the protection of personal liberty. The Roosevelt Court laid the foundation for a jurisprudence of human rights upon which the Warren Court and subsequent Supreme Courts have continued to build.
Two justices presently serving on the Supreme Court - Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas - oppose many of the principles established by the Roosevelt Court, and they wish to turn back the clock to the interpretation of Constitution as it was prior to 1937. The purpose of this article is to describe and defend the human rights revolution of the Roosevelt Court.
Keywords: Roosevelt, Supreme Court, Constitution, Substantive Due Process, Equal Protection, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Religion, Separation of Church and State, State Action, Commerce Clause, Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas, Justice Frankfurter, Justice Black, Justice Jackson, Justice Douglas
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation