A Stitch in Time Saves Nine


“The switch in time that saved nine” is the name given to what was perceived as the sudden jurisprudential shift by Associate Justice Owen J. Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish.[1] Conventional historical accounts portrayed the Court's majority opinion as a strategic move to protect the Court's integrity and independence from President Franklin Roosevelt's court-reform bill (also known as the "court-packing plan"), which would have expanded the size of the bench up to 15 justices.

The term itself is a reference to the aphorism "A stitch in time saves nine," meaning that preventive maintenance is preferable.[2]

For more details on the court-packing plan, see Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937.