1. Based on the title of the cartoon, how many justices had met the 70-or-over requirements? How many new justices would Roosevelt be able to nominate if the bill became law?
A: At least 6 justices had met the 70-or-over requirement that new justices could be appointed. Roosevelt's plan would result in 6 new justices being appointed.
2. Describe how this cartoon captures the issue.
A: FDR is represented, and he is delivering his message, which he is carrying under his arm, to the Supreme Court. The message is simplified in Roosevelt's speech when he is saying to 6 of the 9 justices that they must either retire or move over to make room for new justices to help them.
3. The words "A Free and Independent Judiciary" refer to Article III of the U.S. Constitution. The judiciary is supposed to be a distinct branch of the government, not part of one of the other branches. Would FDR's plan jeopardize this? Explain how it might.
A: This is crucial to understanding the controversy over Roosevelt's plan. Although justices are appointed by the Senate, they are nominated by the President. It seems obvious that the President would nominate justices he knows are pro-New Deal. Ask yourself, what would happen if FDR got his way, appointed 6 new justices who were pro-New Deal, and the Supreme Court then again was asked to rule on the constitutionality of one of his New Deal programs? What are the chances a majority of justices would again find that program to be unconstitutional? Wouldn't the Supreme Court, rather than being "Free and Independent," actually be in Roosevelt's control? That' what some people feared, anyway. The artist, rather than expressing his opinion, has very nicely put forth both the situation, and the controversy.