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In this one hundred and sixty-first year of the independence of the United States, President Roosevelt has brought forward a proposal which, if enacted into law, would end the American State as it has existed throughout the long years of its life.
The plan is put forward with all the artistry of the President's political mind. He speaks in the name of "youth," always a popular and appealing note. He dangles before the House and Senate fifty new and important jobs, always ripe and luscious bait for the Congressional mind. He ingeniously conveys the impression that all he seeks is a routine and moderate effort to speed up justice and improve the whole Federal bench.
No President of the United States ever before made the least gesture toward attempting to gain such a vast grant of power. Mr. Roosevelt demands it, calmly, artfully. By one legislative act, availing himself of the one loophole in the Constitutionthe failure to specify the number of members in the Supreme Courthe would strike at the roots of that equality of the three branches of government upon which the nation is founded, and centralize in himself the control of judicial, as well as executive functions.
It was a French King, Louis XIV, who said, "L'etat, c'est moi""I am the State." The paper shell of American constitutionalism would continue if President Roosevelt secured the passage of the law he now demands. But it would be only a shell.