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Current time:0:00Total duration:6:02
AP.GOPO:
CON‑5.B.3 (EK)

Video transcript

in many videos already we have talked about our three branches of government in the United States but what we're going to do in this videos focus a little bit more on the judicial branch as we've talked about judicial branches main goal is to be the final authority on the United States Constitution and the main check that they have on the legislative and executive branches is that they can deem things that are happening in the other branches say a law that gets passed by Congress or an executive order from the president as being unconstitutional they can also interpret the laws that have been passed and so that's where they get their power now another interesting thing about the judicial branch that we've talked about is unlike the executive and legislative branch where these folks are elected in a semi-regular basis the Supreme Court these are lifetime appointments once someone is nominated by a president and then confirmed by the Senate they're in the Supreme Court for life and so the question is is when the Supreme Court does something that say the president or a member of Congress disagrees with what can they do well there's a couple of options here one option let's say that a clause of a law is deemed unconstitutional so let's say that there's a law here and this part of it the US Supreme Court says now that's not consistent with the Constitution sometimes the legislature might decide to hey let's try to pass another law that clarifies that clause in a in a way that is in line with the Constitution or will do a whole other law that's worded different but it has the same purpose and so the legislative branch can't overrule the judicial branch but they can try to revise their laws to get more in line with their intent but not get the negative judicial review the president also has some levers there's examples in history of the president just outright ignoring a judicial verdict for example Thomas Jefferson during the embargo acts during his administration this is during the Napoleonic Wars and those warring nations were taking advantage of American vessels and seamen and Thomas Jefferson decided he we don't want to have trade with those countries there are aspects of those that the supreme court including some Jefferson appointees decide were unconstitutional but Jefferson just kind of kept executing the way he wanted to you fast forward a few decades to the beginning of the Civil War President Lincoln decided that hey there's some people causing some trouble and we need to detain them and we know there's a constitutional right of habeas corpus that says that people should be allowed to go to court to decide whether the detention is legal to decide whether they should be detained but President Lincoln decided to suspend habeas corpus in certain parts of the country which the Supreme Court was not happy with but he decided to just go ahead with it with the argument that it was necessary to preserve the Union and perhaps the most famous example of a president not being happy with verdicts of the Supreme Court was FDR as he took office in the midst of the Great Depression there's a whole series of federal programs that he was trying to pass and the Supreme Court started to strike down many of these saying that hey this was not the role of the federal government or this was overreaching by the executive and so FDR was not happy with this and so he actually proposed to the legislative branch the judicial procedures reform bill of 1937 which essentially said hey as soon as the Supreme Court justice is over seventy and a half years old I should be able to appoint another Supreme Court justice up to six and it turns out that their works exactly six justices who had already reached that age and so he essentially wanted to pack the Supreme Court with six new justices that would agree with him that would allow him to do what he wanted the legislative branch did not pass his judicial procedures reform bill of 1937 but some historians think that it had the impact that he wanted because it seems that we don't know for sure that after he even tried to do this the judicial branch seemed more friendly to FDR so maybe they said hey you know maybe we don't want to mess with this guy too much because eventually he might be successful instead of having nine Supreme Court justices we'll have 15 people sometimes call this the switch in that saved 9 but to get an appreciation of how people thought about it I have some political cartoons from the time and these are fun to just pause and take a look at so this is trying to change the umpiring so this is a Supreme Court President Roosevelt the heir and he's saying listen I don't like your decisions from now on you're going to have to work with someone who can see things my way and you can see all the different bats that he tried to use and they were all ruled out by the umpire the NRA the AAA these are all different government institutions or programs that FDR was trying to set up in order to fight the Great Depression as part of his New Deal and they say New Deal acts declared unconstitutional I have another political cartoon right over here and it's from that same period in time do we want a ventriloquist act in the Supreme Court and you see Uncle Sam here and then you have FDR and it looks like he's got his hand controlling these puppets and says yes yes we all vote yes even though FDR did not get his way with his court packing plan as it's sometimes called let me write that down his court packing plan as I mentioned some historians believe that it did help influence the court being a little bit friendlier to him and as somewhat irony of it is at the end of the day because FDR served so many terms in office he was able to make 8 out of 9 Supreme Court appointments so in a lot of ways he did determine the inclinations of the Supreme Court for many decades to come well after his administration