Daily Bread for 2.5.15

Good morning, Whitewater.

Thursday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of fourteen degrees. Sunrise is 7:03 AM and sunset 5:13 PM, for 10h 09m 52s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 97.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Landmarks Commission meets tonight at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1937, Pres. Roosevelt introduced a plan to give him authority to increase the number of Supreme Court justices, to as many as fifteen:

Washington, Feb. 5 — The President suddenly, at noon today, cut through the tangle of proposals made by his Congressional leaders to “bring legislative and judicial action into closer harmony” with a broadaxe message to Congress recommending the passage of statutes to effect drastic Federal court reforms.

The message- prepared in a small group and with deepest secrecy — was accompanied by a letter from the Attorney General and by a bill drawn at the Department of Justice, which would permit an increase in the membership of the Supreme Court from nine to a maximum of fifteen if judges reaching the age of 70 declined to retire; add a total of not more than fifty judges to all classes of the Federal courts; send appeals from lower court decisions on constitutional questions, direct to the Supreme Court, and require that government attorneys be heard before any lower-court injunction issue against the enforcement of any act of Congress.

Avoiding both the devices of constitutional amendment and statutory limitation of Supreme Court powers, which were favored by his usual spokesmen in Congress, the President endorsed an ingenious plan which will on passage give him the power to name six new justices of the Supreme Court.

The legislation, of course, never became law:

Roosevelt’s legislative initiative ultimately failed. The bill was held up in the Senate Judiciary Committee by Democrat committee chair Henry F. Ashurst, who delayed hearings in the Judiciary Committee, saying “No haste, no hurry, no waste, no worry—that is the motto of this committee.”[11] As a result of his delaying efforts, the bill was held in committee for 165 days, and opponents of the bill credited Ashurst as instrumental in its defeat.[5] The bill was further undermined by the untimely death of its chief advocate in the U.S. Senate, Senate Majority Leader Joseph T. Robinson. Contemporary observers broadly viewed Roosevelt’s initiative as political maneuvering. Its failure exposed the limits of Roosevelt’s abilities to push forward legislation through direct public appeal.

If one had to have a legislative motto, Sen. Ashurst’s pithy “No haste, no hurry, no waste, no worry” seems a good one.

On this day in 1849, a great institution opens:

On this day in 1849 the University of Wisconsin began with 20 students led by Professor John W. Sterling. The first class was organized as a preparatory school in the first department of the University: a department of science, literature, and the arts. The university was initially housed at the Madison Female Academy building, which had been provided free of charge by the city.

The course of study was English grammar; arithmetic; ancient and modern geography; elements of history; algebra; Caesar’s Commentaries; the Aeneid of Virgil (six books); Sallust; select orations of Cicero; Greek; the Anabasis of Xenophon; antiquities of Greece and Rome; penmanship, reading, composition and declamation. Also offered were book-keeping, geometry, and surveying. Tuition was “twenty dollars per scholar, per annum.” For a detailed recollection of early UW-Madison life, see the memoirs of Mrs. W.F. Allen [Source: History of the University of Wisconsin, Reuben Gold Thwaites, 1900]


Google-a-Day asks a question about coyotes:

What is the source of the pressure that has caused coyotes, which were once essentially diurnal, to adjust to a more nocturnal behavior?

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments