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U.S. Supreme Court Reform

This guide collects academic scholarship, popular press articles, and historical materials to help you learn more about various Supreme Court reform proposals.


The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly fix the number of justices that should comprise the Supreme Court, and the size of the court has varied modestly throughout U.S. history. Court expansion (or "court packing") refers to the idea of increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court, often in furtherance of specific political or policy goals. The most notable attempt at court expansion occurred under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, when the Supreme Court was ruling against portions of his New Deal program. Although President Roosevelt's court packing attempt was ultimately unsuccessful, the issue has not gone away.

Historical Documents Related to President Roosevelt's "Court Packing" Plan

Legislative Materials


The first 3 cases below, collectively known as the "Black Monday" cases, were handed down on May 27, 1935, all of them unanimously ruling against President Roosevelt or his New Deal programs. The last 3 cases, sometimes referred to as the "White Monday" cases, were handed down on March 29, 1937, two of them ruling unanimously in favor of aspects of President Roosevelt's New Deal programs and the other upholding a state minimum wage law.

Academic Literature

Popular Press