Politicians of the day-- unlike many of the current crop-- understood that they could not simply ignore the constitutional prohibition on infringing on the right of the people to keep and bear arms, but Roosevelt's Attorney General, Homer Cummings
, convinced Congress to do an end-run on the Constitution by claiming they weren't regulating firearms, but rather just taxing certain "dangerous" goods.
Democratic Senator Key Pittman wrote to Attorney General Homer Cummings proposing an eleven-member Court just three days after the President surprised the congressional leadership with his own proposal.
32) Wheeler later told Homer Cummings, while cooling off in the club house after a round of golf at Burning Tree, that "the Court fight might have been settled half a dozen times during its progress.
By contrast, the Four Horsemen--Justices Van Devanter, McReynolds, Sutherland, and Butler--"were such staunch conservatives that almost every time Roosevelt's Attorney General Homer Cummings went into court, he knew he had four votes against him.
Located in the Homer Cummings papers is an unsigned speech, apparently prepared early in the Court fight, which argued that securing a liberal Court majority was a matter of pressing urgency and that pursuit of a constitutional amendment would involve unacceptable delay.
See Memorandum from Alexander Holtzoff, to Homer Cummings, Attorney General, on the Appellate Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court 4 (Feb.
1969) [hereinafter Leuchtenburg, "Packing" Plan]; Diary of Homer Cummings 165 (Nov.
Diary of Homer Cummings (June 12, 1938) (unpublished manuscript) (on file with the University of Virginia).
ENTER ATTORNEY GENERAL HOMER CUMMINGS
, contending that Congress could avail itself of the constitutional prerogative to change the number of Supreme Court justices, something it had done several times before 1869 but not since.