Buy it here:
This book promises to be a fascinating read, and Patricia Wald, a brilliant jurist in DC noted as she moderated a talk today by Jeff Shesol, a political historian on the attempt of
FDR to pack the courts, at the Alliance for Justice.
He noted, that there is nothing in the Constitution mandating that there be Nine Justices. I looked-he's right. It's not in the Constitution- and historically in the 19th century the number varied.
FDR attempted to "pack the court" but became, he argued, a bit too enamored with his cleverness and the plan backfired when it's justification- namely-judicial efficiency of a Court whose median age was 71 that allegedly saw through clouded foggy lenses, was proved inaccurate by reports that the back-logs were largely solved and grossly overstated.
But what now? Is there anything stopping Congress from saying that 12 Justices makes more sense than Nine and passing such a law authorizing the President to create three more Justices? Twelve Apostles, Twelve Tribes, Twelve Justices. Seems a fairly good number to get a better cross-section of the community for the wisdom of the ages.
Could Congress actually now pass a law that says that we need twelve justices and get it through? Well, sure enough it could likely get it through without one Republican vote but would it be popular? Would it invoke the ire of the media frenzied conservapathologicals (does Glenn Beck know he is a parody of himself and doing it on purpose?) to deride it's intent? Anyone who likes thinking about these questions and revisiting what the constitutional convention chatter was about under the radar would be delighted by this book.
I hope to read it in the record time that Judge Patricia Wald did- all 500 pages in a day and a half. Mesmerizing!
BIG THANK YOU TO NAN ARON AT THE ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE FOR HOSTING THE LOVELY EVENT.
AFJ will be hosting another event with Jeff in New York in May in conjunction with the American Constitution Society-contact them for more information.