[FOUNTAIN]New Deal has lessons for Uri PartyThe governing party is publicizing the success of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who is considered one of the four most innovative leaders in U.S. history. The Uri Party lawmaker Kim Boo-kyum said, “Americans overcame hardship during the Great Depression as they listened to the consolation and appeal of President Roosevelt.” In fact, however, not every American welcomed President Roosevelt’s policies. Especially, the Supreme Court was not friendly with the president.
Having been elected amid the Great Depression in 1932, President Roosevelt devoted his energy to the New Deal to boost the economy. The key element of the New Deal was the establishment of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration and the National Recovery Administration.
The Agricultural Adjustment Administration was a systematic instrument that prevented sudden price drops from agricultural overproduction by subsidizing farmers who took farmland out of production. The National Recovery Administration let manufacturers participating in the government program put a Blue Eagle mark on their products.
Americans welcomed the idea of reviving the economy with government subsidies, but the Supreme Court objected. From 1934 to 1936, the Supreme Court ruled 16 New Deal bills unconstitutional by 5-4 margins.
President Roosevelt challenged the judicial branch in 1937 after winning a second term. He tried to expand the Supreme Court to 15 members and force other judges to retire. The debate over the federal court reform nearly paralyzed the Congress. In the 1938 mid-term elections, the Democratic Party lost many seats.
But the crisis was resolved with a twist. Two Supreme Justices changed their stances on the New Deal programs, giving the president a 6-3 majority on the court. New vacancies were filled with reformers, so Mr. Roosevelt did not have to meddle with the court system.
The precedent is full of ideas for the governing party, which is biding its time for judicial reform as revenge for the Constitutional Court’s ruling against the capital relocation plan. The governing party must persuade the citizens that we need reform instead of hastily pushing it. That way, the governing party’s move will not be seen as retaliatory.
by Ahn Sung-kyoo
The writer is a political news deputy editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.