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FDR on the 150th Anniversary of Congress

Gerard Magliocca

Gerard N. Magliocca is the Samuel R. Rosen Professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Professor Magliocca is the author of three books and over twenty articles on constitutional law and intellectual property. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford, his law degree from Yale, and joined the faculty after two years as an attorney at Covington and Burling and one year as a law clerk for Judge Guido Calabresi on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Professor Magliocca has received the Best New Professor Award and the Black Cane (Most Outstanding Professor) from the student body, and in 2008 held the Fulbright-Dow Distinguished Research Chair of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands. He was elected to the American Law Institute (ALI) in 2013.

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3 Responses

  1. Shag from Brookline says:

    FDR in discussing “freedom of speech,” made reference to the immunity provided in the Constitution protecting Senators and Representative: “And that immunity is most carefully not extended to either the Chief Justice of the United States or the President.” Was this intended as a dig?

    I downloaded and printed out the entire speech for future reference. The penultimate [my favorite word] paragraph of the speech immediately following the portion quoted in Gerard’s post is interesting:

    “Not for freedom of religion alone does this nation contend by every peaceful means. We believe in the other freedoms of the Bill of Rights, the other freedoms that are inherent in the right of free choice by free men and women. That means democracy to us under the Constitution, not democracy by direct action of the mob; but democracy exercised by representatives chosen by the people themselves.”

    FDR’s reference to ” … the other freedoms that are inherent in the right of free choice by free men and women.” may have been a prelude to his Second Bill of Rights speech following his election to a fourth term. Perhaps if FDR had completed his fourth term, we would have had FDRCARE.

  2. Joe says:

    “democracy exercised by representatives chosen by the people themselves”

    I wonder how he would feel about government by ballot measure.

  3. Ken Rhodes says:

    Well, it may be surmised that he was speaking of our federal governmental process. Note that he interjected the phrase “under the Constitution.”

    I doubt that FDR (or anybody else) would suggest that a small town making a legislative decision by referendum would be “direct action of the mob” in contravention of his concept. The question, then, would be “when does the mob become big enough to call for representational decisions?”

    And I suspect that any lawyer (which FDR was) would have to say “well, the Constitution tells us how our federal government works. The states have to decide for themselves.”

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