Mr. Roosevelt's ill-fated scheme for the reform of the judiciary can be defended against the charge of court-packing by the fact that, in so far as they are interpreting the Constitution, the courts, and particularly the Supreme Court, are exercising functions that are political rather than strictly judicial. The Constitution is a political document and the principles it embodied must be interpreted in the light of existing political and social conditions. Certainly the opposition to the scheme has been essentially political. But even the President's best friends find it hard to stretch this defence to cover his nomination, to the vacancy in the Supreme Court, of a leading left-wing politician who, a long time ago, was a police court magistrate.
Already the more conservative members of his own party in the House of Representatives have retaliated by blocking a number of Bills, including the Wages and Hours Bill, by which he had set much store and which was thought to have an easy passage before what was left of it after the Senate's excisions.