The Effects of the New Deal Reform by F D Roosevelt on Modern Political Structure

The implementation of the Social Security Act in 1935 was particularly symbolic of the constitutional conflict between government and the judiciary (Alter, 2006). Whilst the Social Security Act had been passed by Congress, the Supreme Court had yet to rule on its validity. These proposals were unchartered waters for federal authority and it was inevitable that it would be challenged in the courts and until the Supreme Court ruled, the status of the New Deal reforms was ambiguous (Dubofsky, 1992).The eventual striking down of the New Deal reforms raised issues pertaining to the minority control of power held by the Supreme Court (Garraty, 1973). FDR’s desire to gain momentum with what he perceived as necessary measures to help America out of its post-Depression after effects was the driving force behind the court packing measures (Garraty, 1973). Whilst the court packing measures ultimately failed to gain significant ground, it has been argued that the lasting legacy of FDR’s court packing plans was to create a constitutional shift, which in turn redefined the political structure of American government (Manza, 2000). The focus of this analysis is to evaluate FDR’s court packing plans in context of the New Deal reforms and critically consider the lasting impact of the plans on today’s political structure.Firstly, it is important to highlight that the controversy surrounding the New Deal was fundamental in reshaping and redefining the constitutional role of the Supreme Court in American government (Malamud, 2003). The initial role accorded to the Supreme Court under the Constitution is set out in Article III, section 2 of the Constitution. Article III on a strict interpretation arguably grants narrow original jurisdiction, with cases involving more than one State and cases involving the individual vis-à-vis the Federal government solely being within its remit (Alter, 2006). Conversely, the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Courtincludes all other cases with the right to reject appeals (Niskanen, 1996).