Texas Congressman,Hatton W. Sumners,delivers speech opposed to FDR's Court-Packing initiative.
Washington DC USA Date:1937 Duration:2 min 48 sec Sound:Yes
Texas Congressman,Hatton W. Sumners,Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives,is seen standing outdoors, before background of the Capitol, in Washington, DC. He delivers a recorded speech in opposition to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's proposal to add more Justices to the Supreme Court (so-called "Court-packing"). Considered a Constitutional Law expert, Representative Sumners, a Democrat, broke with Democratic President Roosevelt over this issue. In his speech, he extols the sanctity of the U.S. Constitution and explains the legal process for amending it. He notes that the proposal (to increase the number of Justices in the Supreme Court) comes directly from the Executive Branch (the President). He deplores the action as designed to "place on the Supreme Court, six young wreckers." He stops this line of criticism and resumes again, saying that, "the purpose of the Supreme Court Bill is, to change the Constitution." He characterizes the bill as unconstitutional, and continues praising the Constitution, itself, explaining, again, the proper procedures for amending it. He acknowledges that the bill's advocates are likely sincere and conscientious.But, he says, "they are raiders off the reservation, raiding the reserve domain of the people." He concludes by saying "they are not playing the American game of Constitutional Democracy."
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