FDR and Chief Justice Hughes: The President, the Supreme Court, and the Epic Battle Over the New Deal
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FDR and Chief Justice Hughes: The President, the Supreme Court, and the Epic Battle Over the New Deal

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  32 ratings  ·  10 reviews
By the author of acclaimed books on the bitter clashes between Jefferson and Chief Justice Marshall on the shaping of the nation’s constitutional future, and between Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney over slavery, secession, and the presidential war powers. Roosevelt and Chief Justice Hughes's fight over the New Deal was the most critical struggle between an Americ...more
ebook, 480 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by Simon & Schuster (first published February 1st 2012)
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Professor Simon has written a fascinating look at probably one the greatest crises in the history of the Supreme Court – the battle over the New Deal.

The author begins the book with biographical sketches of both FDR and the Chief Justice Charles E. Hughes that take up the first half of the book. He traces there life from boyhood to their ultimate confrontation in the mid 30’s over the constitutionality of many of the pillars of the New Deal. Personally I found Justice Hughes a much more honorabl...more
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s court-packing scheme and the “switch in time that saved nine” have been immortalized in American history. They mark a turning point in the New Deal and American constitutional law. The account of law professor James Simon stands out in its focus on Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, the extensive survey of the major cases leading up to the “switch in time,” and its focus on the role of the Supreme Court in thwarting the court-packing scheme.

Simon starts with sketch b...more
This dual biography illustrates a crucial moment in the history of the Supreme Court and the Presidency - FDR's 1937 confrontation over the New Deal and his attempt to 'pack' the court with newer, more sympathetic justices.

In the early 1930s, FDR had a supermajority in the Senate, with over 70 seats. FDR famous launched an ambitious New Deal, involving the National Recovery Act, the Agricultural Adjustment Act, and the Public Works Association. Yet there remained considerable controversy over t...more
Brilliantly written. James F. Simon shows why he is, in my mind, the foremost scholar on the history of the Supreme Court. His clear explanation of the court cases along with his simply good writing when talking about personalities ceates always compelling reads. I may have enjoyed this even more than his biography on William Douglas, which is saying a lot. The idea of crafting a book around the relationship between a powerful Chief Executive and the sitting Chief Justice was facinating-to the p...more
Greg Fanoe
Billed as a book about the Supreme Court fights over the New Deal but that's only like 100 pages of the 400 page book! The rest of the book consists of dual pretty unnecessary, very surface level biographies of Charles Evans Hughes and Franklin Roosevelt, two people who easily merit their own full book length biographies. This was pretty good but it would have benefited from a much tighter focus.
The legal arguments made for some heavy reading, but it was interesting to read about how the infamous court packing debate went down. Some of FDR's statements regarding the branches of government also sound vaguely familiar... as though I've heard them said recently by a current political figure ;)
Jim Blessing
This was an outstanding book, especially on Charles Evans Hughes, who is not well-known. He was a progressive Republican and had an amazing career. The book contained interesting information about FDR. It's a great read!
Donnie Reeves
So many high level games were played by two of the powers of the day...both thought they were right but one had to be right in orser for the new deal to survive and help get a country back on its feet.
David Eisenthal

Simon takes an interesting approach by crafting this dual biography of FDR and Charles Evans Hughes. The perspective on both of these important 20th century figures is enhanced by this approach.
Tom Dillickrath

Interesting, but perhaps too specialized for lay reader and too basic for someone conversant with the fundamentals. Poorly edited at times as well. Just adequate.
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James F. Simon is the Martin Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus at New York Law School. He is the author of seven previous books on American history, law, and politics. His books have won the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award and twice been named New York Times Notable Books. He lives with his wife in West Nyack, New York.
More about James F. Simon...
What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession, and the President's War Powers The Antagonists: Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter and Civil Liberties in Modern America Independent Journey: The Life of William O. Douglas The Center Holds: The Power Struggle Inside the Rehnquist Court

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