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To finance his first New Deal, Roosevelt had introduced higher taxes for the rich. They felt that he had betrayed his class and he was expelled from his social club for letting down “his people”.
Roosevelt’s response was typically blunt claiming that the policies he was pursuing would step on the toes of the few while the majority benefited.
The Supreme Court took its stance from a legal viewpoint and in 1935 it effectively declared the National Recovery Administration illegal.
In the following year, it declared the Agricultural Adjustment Act unconstitutional thus killing off the AAA. The point made by the Supreme Court was that any efforts made to help farmers. Should come at a state level and not federal level and that these parts of the New Deal went against the powers given to the states by the Constitution.
11 out of 16 of the Alphabet Laws were decreed unconstitutional in cases heard by the Supreme Court. The argument of the Supreme Court was that Roosevelt had tried to impose the power of the federal government on state governments – and this was unconstitutional. If a state deemed that there was a crisis in farming then it had the right to tackle this crisis as laid down by the Constitution but the federal government did not have the right to impose its decisions onto states.
Some politicians realized that the New Deal was not very popular with all the people and that there was a chance to make political capital out of this. The 1936 election result no doubt showed that there was mileage in such an approach.
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