Why was the Supreme Court against FDR's New Deal?  

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The relationship between Franklin D. Roosevelt and the courts was tenuous at best. One can imagine the frustration of the president with the popular success of his social reform programs being in peril because of the judicial branch. But such is the challenge of an American president according to the Constitution of the United States. The three branches must be in harmony for real reform to take place.

The issue at hand with regards to the Supreme Court and FDR was an age old question that politicians have bickered about since the dawn of the republic. That question regards what power the federal government should have over the states and the people. Roosevelt's attempt to utilize the federal government to provide relief and reform during the Great Depression was unprecedented in American history to that point. Both executive acts and the laws of Congress are subject to judicial scrutiny. It just so happened that the highest court in the land leaned towards conservative principals during Roosevelt's presidency. With regards to the issue of federal reach, conservatives believe in a small federal government presence. The Court felt that Roosevelt acted unconstitutionally with many of his signature programs and utilized judicial review to declare them illegal.