THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Critical Faculties

Supreme switch

Did FDR's threat to 'pack' the court in 1937 really change the course of constitutional history?

Addressed to the nine. The Supreme Court in 1937, the year Franklin Roosevelt threatened to pack the court. When Justice Owen Roberts (rear, second from right), an ally of the court's conservatives, voted to uphold a minimum-wage law, it was called 'the switch in time that saved nine.'
Addressed to the nine. The Supreme Court in 1937, the year Franklin Roosevelt threatened to pack the court. When Justice Owen Roberts (rear, second from right), an ally of the court's conservatives, voted to uphold a minimum-wage law, it was called "the switch in time that saved nine." (Bettmann / Corbis) Bettmann / Corbis
By Christopher Shea
December 4, 2005

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

Text size +

(Correction: Because of a reporting error, an article in the Dec. 4 Ideas section about Franklin Roosevelt and the Supreme Court in 1937 misspelled the surname of Justice Benjamin Cardozo.) (Full article: 1191 words)

This article is available in our archives:

Globe Subscribers

FREE for subscribers

Subscribers to the Boston Globe get unlimited access to our archives.

Not a subscriber?

Non-Subscribers

Purchase an electronic copy of the full article. Learn More

  • $9.95 1 month archives pass
  • $24.95 3 months archives pass
  • $74.95 1 year archives pass