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Hoo boy, is this episode off the hook! First, “Lucretia” staged a coup, usurping Steve’s host role, and punishing him for his bad puns, but we finally get to the main event, which is a long conversation with the great Charles Lipson about his recent article, “Packing the Court, Then and Now.”
We take a while to get to the subject, however, in favor of a long prologue about high school whisky exploits, “Bootleggers and Baptists,” and other frivolities. But eventually we get down to the serious lessons for today from FDR’s “failed” court-packing scheme of 1937. Lipson contests the conventional historical account, arguing that FDR successfully intimidated the Court into blessing his New Deal predations against limited government. Steve and Lucretia concur, but argue that the whole story is actually much worse than Charles makes it out.
And there’s a very contemporary parallel, as the current proposals for court-packing track FDR’s rhetoric and rationale very closely. (If you have time, read FDR’s March 9, 1937 “fireside address” attacking the Supreme Court, and note how leftists today are using many of the same talking points.)
It’s a long, sprawling, raucous episode—and we didn’t even have that much whisky!
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