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tv   U.S. Supreme Court During World War I  CSPAN  November 25, 2018 10:55am-11:57am EST

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melvin describes the constitutional issues during the war. -- introduced by senator the supreme court chamber. i am vice president of the historical society. we want to welcome everyone here to our first lecture of the leon silverman lecture series which is dealing with the supreme court and world war i. 100 and of the end of world war i. we have an interesting lecture tonight and the series will be interesting for you. before i go further, i'm it struck did to tell you to please turn off any cell phones, apple watches, whatever other gadgets you may have, so they do not interfere with our system.
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thank you. host is just as sonja sotomayor. we are please to have her with us. we want to thank or on behalf of the society for giving up time when we call upon her to participate and events like this. it is quite important to us and quite important to you. we very much appreciated. i will tell you about the justice. she is a native new yorker, born in the bronx. about lasthappy night's baseball game i gather. [laughter] she did her undergraduate at princeton, went to jail law school. the joined the district attorneys office as an assistant district attorney. after several years she had a private practice and was a litigator in the international and commercial law area.
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and attracted attention before long she had become a federal district judge on the southern district of new york. became a later she circuit court of appeals judge on the second circuit in new york. that was 1998. that, she found herself here in the supreme court. she and one other justice and the modern era, charles whitaker, are the only who actually served on all three levels of the federal judiciary. just as whitaker was appointed to his position by the same president, eisenhower. mayor --onia motive by three was appointed presidents, george h bush, to the district court, president clinton to the circuit court, and president obama to the supreme court.
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she is also found time to write some books. about her life in particular. i commend them to you as well. let me turn the program over to her. it is a privilege for me to mention certain at this time. [applause] >> it was a miserable night last night. good evening everyone and welcome to the court. i am delighted that so many of you could join us this evening. in thes first lecture supreme court historical societies 2018 leon silverman lecture series. ,hich this term as you heard will focus on the supreme court in world war i. since the a century first world war ended. a fitting moment for this society's first serious to focus
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on that important chapter in our nations history. named forre series is the historical societies late chairman and president, leon silverman. who was a titan of the new york legal world. it was impossible to practice in new york as i did, without knowing leon. he was everywhere. among the many important roles, he served. he was a president of the legal aid society and american college. he worked tirelessly on behalf of our historical society. his commitment to bringing leading scholars to the courts to share their wisdom is why this wonderful lecture series exist today. , and all thetures historical society and its members do, to promote reflection on the history of the
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court. my colleagues and i are very grateful. this evening will be hearing from professor melvin. professor emeritus of history at virginia commonwealth university. lives, he directed and chairedu's -- its history department. you should know that history was my major in college. he received his ba and phd from columbia university and his jay-z from the university of -- and his jc from the university of virginia. he keeps himself nimble by teaching constitutional history at american university here in washington, d.c.
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prolific historian and scholar. he has written on many topics in constitutional history and has served for the past 25 years as the chairman of the board of editors of the historical society journalist of history. he has held many fellowships and grants from the national endowment for the humanities, the american council of learned societies, the virginia foundation for the humanities, and the american historical association. i want to highlight two of his work. his biography of justice brandeis published in 2009 one many accolades including the jewish book council everett award as the book of the year. and the ambassadors award given by the english-speaking union of the united states. the historical societies
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griswold prize. is consent tok the supreme court, its role in history as constitutional dialogue. list hisontinue to many accomplishments, but i fear that i would leave no time for his insights. i am looking forward to hearing what he has to say about the court in world war i. i hope you will join me in welcoming professor melvin urofsky. [applause] thank you justice sotomayor. i know she is triple booked tonight. i appreciate the time that you took. mece i am an historian, let
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start out with what my mentor bill lockton berg taught me many years ago. begin with a story. here is the first part of the story. alex brandeis was in her washington department on a cold december day in 1917 catching up on boston news with her old friend elizabeth evans when the phone rang a little after 4:00. who is there she asked. the president. when alice again asked who was calling, the operator said president wilson. sheizing it was no joke, told the girl to transfer the call. the small apartment upstairs that justice as brandeis used as a study. within an hour, woodrow wilson arrived at stoneleigh court and went up to see the justice while the two servicemen -- the two secret service men waited
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outside the door. we will get to what they talked about in a few minutes. we have to set the context. the united states in a war unlike any at ever fought before. my assignment tonight is not as it has often been, to look at one particular justice. although i will do a little of that. or discuss one set of cases. i will do some of that as well. i have been asked to provide an overview, a context for the three remaining lectures in this series. as it is still called in europe, began in august -- began on august 1914. -- in august 1914. there was disagreement about the total number of casualties. the conservative estimate said before the fighting ended, over 8 million soldiers and 12 million civilians had died. germany lost 1.7 million dead.
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over 4 million wounded. enterited states did not the conflict until april 1917. the first troops arrived in france the following september. in the 14 months before the armistice, 50,000 americans lost their lives. the last big war that the united states had fought before then was that between the states from 1861 to 1865. while the conflict raised a number of constitutional issues, such as the legitimacy of the blockade, the emancipation of slaves, and the suspension of habeas corpus, for the most part, court decisions played a relatively minor role. abraham lincoln has been accused of ignoring the constitution and acting as a tyrant. lincoln did neither. he did stretch the constitution.
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before the civil war, the accepted view held that the constitution had created a government of restricted powers, which could act only on those areas prescribed to it. under john marshall, the supreme court had interpreted the reach of these powers. even marshall often referred to the government as one of limited authority. southerners took a narrower view of federal powers of those in the north, even the latter shared this conceptual framework. if true, the government in washington had no powers to wage a war against the secession of states. the union would collapse. while the obvious answer was to amend the constitution, this was impractical with 11 states in secession. to support the prosecution of the war, northern legal writers developed what the abolitionist
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scholar called the -- of the constitution. he and others argued that the southern emphasis on the negative constraints in the constitution hid the positive commandments for the government to act effectively. to preserve itself and to preserve the union. fisher, and other legal writer explained, that the president and the congress had andpower to act -- situations. they also had the discretion to choose the most effective means to go so -- to do so. presuming -- even if the particular means had not been specified in constitutional detail. as timothy hubner explained in his recent study of constitutional issues in the civil war, the constitution would either need to be adequate to meet the needs or a would
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have to be abandoned. the latter choice was unthinkable. lincoln expanded the understanding of constitutional power in his strong reaction to secession. the antebellumd sovereigntystate versus national supremacy by asserting the idea of america as a unitary state, one that was empowered by and acted on the authority of the people. the famous assertion that the government of so, the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. while the federal government to grow in size and power, after the end of reconstruction in 1877, the old theory of limited government returned. shared by all parts of the country. 1917, the onlyd
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wars the country faced involved at the army subduing the indian tribes and what john haig called a little war against spain that left the united states with new possessions in the caribbean and the pacific. thedore roosevelt use of bully pulpit presaged what modern presidents could do. although he would've liked to have led the nation in wartime, that task fed -- that task fell to woodrow wilson. wilson had been a former government professor and had written books on the state and national governments. he knew the writings of scholars like fisher. constitutionally, he remained an unreconstructed jeffersonian who opposed big government. in the 1912 election, wilson had countered it or roosevelt nationalism and which big business would be controlled by big government with his new freedom in which big business would be kept in check by the
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rules of competition strictly enforced. wilson desperately tried to keep the united states out of war. when germany resumed unrestricted attacks by u-boats on neutral shipping going to the allies, which included many american boats, wilson had little choice but to ask congress for a declaration of war. to put it charitably, the united states was terribly unprepared to go to war. 1916, congress, under intense pressure from the white house, past the first measured it -- passed the first measure. the suggestion of the secretary of war, congress authorized the creation of a council of defense. although it had an implied mandate of helping to mobilize the private sector for war
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production, no one knew what it could or should do. it had little authority at its behest. the army and navy solid as a shield between them and porkbarrel politics. the bill passed by congress envisioned something vaguer. as far as congress was concerned, that counsel would play a mino -- a minor advisory role. a conversation i had a few weeks ago, a friend wondered if there were constitutional issues. i assured her there were and promised to talk about some of them tonight. here it is. here is a short list of constitutional questions that came up in the war. one, military conscription. although both the union and confederacy had resorted to
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drafts during the civil war, they had not been popular. especially since a well-to-do man could pay someone else to take his place. the constitutionality of the draft during world war i did come before the supreme court. i am going to say little about it because that will be the of a presented -- of a presentation on october 23. second, economic regulation. regulation of economic activity. a combination of congressional statutes and executive orders led the government intervention and regulation of areas as diverse as agriculture, mining, and rent control. two of the most important laws passed by congress, the lever act of 1917 and the oberman act of 1918, gave the federal
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government and norma's control over agriculture as well as industry. to an extent never before seen in our history. both these laws formed part of the template for franklin d roosevelt new deal efforts to fight the great depression. we will talk more about this because some of these issues did come before the court. three, labor relations. years ago, the noted historian richard hofstadter wrote that war is the enemy of reform. during the first world war, reform seemed to be strengthened rather than weakened. the labor board cochaired by president william howard taft worked to reduce labor-management strife. it also forced management to pay workers a decent wage. the word labor policies board unionto set policies for recognition.
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wilson himself took an interest in hourly wages. show soul welfare groups played a prominent role in training american troops and early reformers helped old the army camps. -- helped to build the army camps. the enfranchisement of women. women sullen opportunity to finally win suffrage. because suffrage had always been considered primarily a matter of state power and even today despite the 15th amendment and the 1965 voting rights act, women had begun lobbying state legislatures after the civil war. the wyoming territory gave women suffrage in 1869. by 1900, only four states allowed women to vote. by 1912ment picked up when a social worker returned
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ip.m an apprenticesh adopting the technique she learned in the mother country, she led a march to promote the new goal of the movement, a constitutional amendment. unruly opponents broke up the parade. they had the publicist he they needed. by 1916, the republican had endorsed a women's suffrage movement. wilson, who had extremely traditional views about women opposed giving them the vote. he refused to endorse the amendment insisting that states should control the suffrage. the president found himself in a shrinking minority. the new women's party regularly picketed the white house, chained themselves to the fence, provoked arrest, and went on well-publicized hunger strikes in prison. ,hen the u.s. entered the war
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political wisdom dictated that one could not send americans to fight and die for an idea overseas while denying it to half the population at home. wilson finally capitulated. he went before congress on september 30, 1918 to recommend the constitutional amendment. congress had turned down similar proposals ever since reconstruction. while the house passed it easily, the senate rejected the proposal once in 1918 and once in 1919. congress finally approved the 19th amendment on june 4 of 1919. statesee became the 36th to ratify an august 18, 1920. in time for women to vote for that year's presidential election. five, the prohibition of alcohol. prohibition had such a bad name in our history.
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the great experiment that ultimately failed. al capone, et cetera . it constituted one of the most important progressive era forms. the labor act authorized the bidident to limit or for the use of foodstuffs to make alcoholic beverages. on this issue, we will have extensive dissipation by the court. -- extensive participation by the court. six, civil liberties. byt topic will be covered professor wind trip in the last of the lectures on december 6. suffice it to say for now, that , theg the war of congress most restrictive laws on price since the alien -- on press since the alien sedition acts.
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seven, the league of nations. overften, the fight american entry into the league is portrayed as a spitball fight between two recalcitrance. wilson and henry cabot lodge of massachusetts. that scenario is only partially correct. the constitution gives the president treaty making powers. for the agreement to go into effect, it needs the approval of two thirds of the senate. this is a typical example of the checks and balances built into our system of government by the framers. wilson took no senator with him to the paris conference and when he returned with the treaty, he essentially brushed off the senate saying the document had been signed and the senate had to be committed to it as well. the senate, jealous of its powers, not agree. wilson should have known better. in his book, constitutional
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government and 1908, he had written that when faced by a stubborn senate, a president might well follow a more mightiatory course, which -- which one are two presidents might have followed with satisfactory results that might have been suspected. the senate had some legitimate constitutional questions. one stood out more clearly. article 10 of the league of nations covenant, which called for collective action against aggression. did this mean that if the united states ratify the treaty and joined the league, it automatically had to go to war if aggression occurred? what did this imply for the constitutional requirement that only congress could commit the country to war? the allies were willing to yield on this point, but not wilson. his stubbornness doomed the
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treaty. wilson would have no changes. his interpretation of presidential powers despite what he had written earlier would not allow them to compromise. together with the senate's insistence on doing its constitutional duty of reviewing treaties, he played into the hands of his opponents. the standoff between the two branches of government had important effects. when harry truman went to the san francisco conference in 1945 with a charter -- where the charter of united nations would be signed, he took senators from both parties. truman would have fit into wilson's group of presidents with unusual sagacity. delegated a great deal of power to the president. albeitften with many -- many with misgivings.
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the expansion of government power in a speech to the american bar association. the arguments of would be explored by professor maximin -- will be explored by professor waxman one week from tonight. not all of them came up before the court. did theyone exception involve members of the court. we should keep in mind that until fairly recently, presidents often spoke with members of the court about policy matters. and world war ii, franklin roosevelt consulted with three members of the court. hlix frankfurter, robert jackson, and william douglas. wilsonfirst world war, only had one member of the court whose advice he trusted.
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justice brandeis became one of his closest confidant. picking up our story from that late afternoon, the matter that concerned wilson involved railroads. a seeming inability to move raw materials to plants or desperately needed supplies to atlantic ports so they could go to the troops. wilson had been besieged by people clamoring for the government to take over the rail lines, drawing them to a unified system. although the attorney general had a short in the president such a step would be legal since congress had empowered the 1916,ent to do so in wilson had his doubts. over the lines and setting up such a powerful government agency. he went to see the one man whose advice he would trust.
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e -- home wilson new shared his views on government and the economy. understood that in wartime, things had to be done differently. he reassured the president that not only with the takeover be legitimate, but that he should name william gives meka do to run the rail boats. although wilson recognized his talent, he needed his son-in-law at the treasury department to cope with the problems of financing the war. given his well-known view on the limitations of individuals to run large enterprises, the justice told wilson that he could do both jobs and do them well. less than a week later, the white house announced the government would take over the railroads for the duration of the war.
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to an extent that would be deemed highly questionable these days, members of the administration frequently consulted with the justice. they like wilson did so quietly. brandeis made recommendations of men to certain positions and met with cabinet members. war, the declaration of maca do made the first of many trips to the apartment. also for a commission that wilson wanted to send to russia. the former mayor of cleveland nl secretary of war had only known rent ice slightly before that -- had only known brandeis slightly before the war. cod aftern go to cape the court recessed in 1917, he would stay in washington over the summer. had awrote to alice, he
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very busy schedule. when baker asked felix frankfurter to prepare a memorandum on dealing with strikes called by the iww, frankfurter submitted it with a note that brandeis had approved it. broker,stimson, bernard and many others also found their way to stoneleigh court. brandeis had great respect for uber herbert -- for herbert hoover. the only person who seems to go forward is hoover brandeis told his wife. although he has no authority in law for practically anything. brandeis told his brother they had some ideas on how to approve the movement of foodstuffs, he immediately put them in touch with hoover. hoover asked them to join the food administration as a dollar a year man as his special assistant.
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recognized that he would not be able to utilize in any formalents of capacity, he continued to talk with him on everything from organization to appointments. up,y time a problem came people suggested putting brandeis in charge. it had been too great a struggle to get them on the bench. the president had no intention of taking him off. a meeting with rabbi stephen wise after wilson complained about how hard it had been, he said why don't you ask justice brandeis? i need him everywhere, wilson responded. he must stay where he is. brandeis must have anticipated that some of the administration's actions would have constitutional
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repercussions and could eventually come before the supreme court. brandeisk ice -- would recuse himself? how would he explain it? gavee think the advice he -- should the matter reached the high court that the justices would overwhelmingly endorse it? a number of matters did come before the court. before looking at these cases, we should note that the court has always tried to avoid getting in the way of the other branches of government during wartime. if it involves property and other matters, it will put them off until after the war. in economic matters, if the government exceeded its authority, monetary payments would make property owners whole again. if lives are involved, that is another story. the administration wanted the
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court to hear challenges to the draft as soon as possible. high foundreason the the draft law unconstitutional, the government did not want anyone to die because of an invalid law. the court consolidated several challenges and heard them in 1917. court wanted to be as helpful in the war effort as it could. toe of the justices went out enlist as frank murphy did in the second war. when felix frankfurter recognized that two labor cases hee on the courts calendar, worried because as a government official, he would be unable to argue them. the attorney general of oregon was waiting for the court to decide. brandeis had been involved earlier and would have to recuse. frankfurt it was not sure the
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majority of the remaining justices would support the laws. he made an appointment to see chief justice edward white. said said my son, -- white , my son, what brings you here? cleard, i am not at all that i should put to you this matter, but i come to you as a concessional. son, just, tell me my speak freely. a few days later, the court had turned down or gone -- oregon's request. or thert wanted administration wanted the court to delay deciding an antitrust case. begunstice department had an antitrust suit against the united states steel corporation. it slowly wended its way through the lower courts. it was due to be argued before
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the supreme court of the october 1917 term. steel, armorade plating, and other products desperately needed by the army and navy. the wilson administration was not willing to abandon the case. neither did it want a decision in the middle of war that if the government one would lead to the breakup of the great corporation. the country needed this deal and once again, the court quietly held. it delayed hearing the case until march 1 1920. nearly 10 years after the complaint had been filed and then dismissed the suit. drink had wonnst their first victory with the passage of the webb canyon act. that reinforced state prohibition laws by closing off the channels of interstate commerce to liquor destined for salete which the use for
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had been prohibited. it did not have any -- intended thatways states should enforce dry laws. a divided court upheld that law in 1917. since many states refused to aopt prohibition, constitutional amendment was the next step. the war had a nascent concurrent and enforcement -- the law had a nascent concurrent enforcement provision. the federal power would be exercised. in the draft law passed in the spring of 1917, congress prohibited alcoholic sales within five miles of military bases, which had the effect of closing down dozens, perhaps
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hundreds of saloons and brussels -- saloons and brothels in cities. the war revenue act discouraged drinking without prohibition. in 1917, the tax on whiskey tripled to 320 a gallon. the refusal of many local authorities to enforce prohibition, especially in large seek aled the dries to constitutional amendment. in december of 1917, congress passed a constitutional amendment and send it to the state for ratification. please note that in order for congress to pass a constitutional amendment, it requires a two thirds majority in both houses of congress.
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amendment was not foisted off on the country by a small cabal of prohibitionists. it clearly had widespread support and was seen by many people as a reform measure. wilson issued a series of war proclamations from december 1917 through september 1918 that established near-total prohibition. one week after the armistice, wilson signed the wartime prohibition act, which made it illegal to sell alcoholic beverages in the domestic market. even though the fighting had stopped at the armistice signed, a peace treaty had not been side. technically, the united states remained in a state of war until the peace treaty would be signed. the kentucky distillery company could not market whiskey it had been holding and its warehouses for two years. it went to court arguing that
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congress could no longer exercise war powers. the law it claimed violated the 10th amendment. a unanimous court upheld the law. as brandeis explained, although the 10th amendment really -- normally conveyed the power to the states, congress had a legitimate interest in maintaining wartime mobilization even though the fighting had ended. the hostilities had ceased, did not mean they might not break out again. congress has a responsibility for ensuring that the country would be prepared. because the various wartime measures had given the dry forces a great deal of momentum, we need to follow up on this because prohibition is one of the worst constitutional legacies. date ratified the 13th amendment.
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in october 1919, congress passed the volstead act defining an intoxicating beverage as one with 0.5% or more alcohol by volume. if you let a glass of cider sit outside for a day or two, that is about what it would be. 1920, theinning of court heard a challenge to the bullets that act and upheld the law by a-four decision. four decision. the decisions had consistently determined that prohibition laws were ineffective and less they embraced nearly all drinks that included alcohol. since congress had the power to prohibit intoxicating liquors, they could adopt such meaning as they concluded were necessary to
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the administration of the law. there was still a peace treaty -- still no peace treaty. the plaintiff set argued that a drink with 0.5% alcohol was not intoxicating. brandeis said that did not matter. it did not sick -- it did not concern the court. congress had to establish a definitive standard and the judiciary would not second-guess the determination made by congress. there is a dissent in this case. it is a rare instance in which justices questioned the need for wartime interference with property rights. the opinion by justice james c mcreynolds and liam are day was incredulous that a ban on intoxicating beer could be imposed a year after the end of
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fighting. food was now abundant. the ban could no longer be justified as a war measure. concerned,hey were the idea that war powers could be exercised because a peace treaty had not been signed card, side, was a fig leaf. foreshadowed how the conservative court of the 1920's and early 1930's would behave. because the court had not heard any of the property cases during the war, the libertarian mcreynolds, had been unable to comment because -- had been unable to comment on this governmental powers. never haveion should taken place they said. is for rulerson and for people in war and in peace. it is covered by all classes of men and by all circumstances. the suspension of constitutional
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--itations during times of leads to anarchy or despotism. decade-long depression that began in 1929, this view commanded a majority of the court and led to the constitutional crisis of 1937. statesh all but two ratified the 18th amendment, there was still a great deal of anti-prohibition sentiment. not only the implementing legislation, but the amendment itself. battery a distinguished of lawyers including william to guthrie and -- attacked the and on two grounds. claim to the constitution had not created a limiting amendment power. the 18th amendment involved subject matter that should not be reached in the constitution. a view that is now widely held.
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the unique enforcement provision of section two, giving both congress and the states concurrent powers undermined the federal system. , hang on a second. sticky pages. the amendment was holy inconsistent with the fundamental idea on which the american union was based. it intruded on local self-government. the interest of free government he argued would not enjoy limitation of personal liberty. the court brushed aside both arguments. the 18th amendment had to be treated the same as any other amendment. section two did not alter the traditional lines of authority. congress had power that could reach inter-and intra-state commerce. didstates concurrent power nothing within supplement federal power. that meant that section two
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meant nothing. there was another case that came down on the attacks between the volstead act and 18th amendment. in june 1920, the high court unanimously thwarted efforts by opponents of women's suffrage and prohibition to allow voter therenda to override ratification of amendments by the state legislatures. even if a state legislature had ratified the suffrage of prohibition amendments, a motor m could nullify that. a state could not deviate from the ratification methods prescribed by the constitution. back, and of the summer of 1916, congress as part of its preparedness legislation had authorized the president to take over the railroads in wartime. wilson did not act until he consulted with brandeis in late
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1917. after that meeting, was in had ordered the takeover. under its terms, the government would run the railroads and compensate the owners after the war -- compensate the owners after the use of their property. the welded knots is and the police regulation of the states. established a system that covered intrastate and interstate service. intention -- the north dakota utility commission filed suit to block the action on -- and won a victory in state courts. it will the federal government had exceeded its authority. maca do appealed to this a prima court and 37 states joined. the supreme court unanimously
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reversed with chief justice writing a sweeping opinion upholding the authority of the president. in taking over the roads, the chief executive had not been bound by the limits of the commerce clause but operated under the war powers of the country, which reached as far as necessary. since the government had promised to compensate railroad owners, it had not violated the taking calls. there are several noteworthy things about this decision. brandeis did not recuse. even though his advice had been critical in wilson's decision. second, although he did not use the word adequate, white's opinion was within the parameters of the adequacy of constitution theory on which lincoln had relied and paralleled the speech that professor waxman will talk about next week. no rushhe court was in to hear the case.
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it had not been argued until may 5 1919 and argued -- and decided a month later. the case did not involve wives and the government it already promised the railroad owners to compensate them. the labor act proved to be the only wartime statute to ratify -- cords and added only one the courts and added only one provision. the grossman company was charging -- and $19 and $.50 for a 100 pound bag. prices that were outrageously high during the inflation. amended thegress section for it leave her act, which criminalized the making of -- it was intended to prevent rates theyterest so high that were completely unfair and unethical. it also made it illegal to charge unreasonably high rates for necessities.
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congress failed to define what constituted an unreasonable price and delegated it to the courts. congress couldat not assign its powers to another branch and that the amendments were unconstitutional. the court agreed unanimously. they struck down the law as overbroad. to declare something illegal, congress had to do more then describe it as illegal -- describe it as unreasonable. because the court avoided the law on vagueness grounds, it did not help to decide whether congress had unconstitutionally delegated its power. the court made it clear that the federal government during wartime did have the power to fix prices. remember what brandeis said about hoover? he gets things done but has no
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authority in law for anything. the court was validating what hoover and the government had done. that the various things the government did during the war was to fix rental prices. in october 1919, note again that although hostilities had ceased much of the president -- had government, federal congress had established a commission to regulate rental property rights in the district of columbia. the size of the government had expanded enormously. not only through the creation of new agencies but by the expansion of older ones. nearly all of whom had come to washington from other places. faced with a complex job of financing the war, also hired on hundreds of people and most of them came from out of town. , notuilding had stopped
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only in washington, but around the country as the government took all building materials to erect the various training posts needed to turn civilians to soldiers. the housing shortage led many thelords to raise rents to point that many government workers could not afford. the statute said that tenets can stay in their property past the day their leases expired. paid thes the tenant rent, he could stay indefinitely. the statute provided that if the owner wanted to occupy the premises, he could evict the tenants, but he had to give the tenants 30 days notice. hirsch did not give the requisite notice. locke refused to move. hirsh went to court.
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block appealed to the supreme court. written bycision oliver when holmes, the court upheld the validity. wartime circumstances found the letting of buildings was a public interest so great that to justify regulation by law. in times of trouble, governmental action must be allowed. line in his opinion deserves special notice. the question he declared was whether congress was incompetent to reach the emergency in the way that has been met by most of the civilized countries of the world. oftook a very broad view federal police power. a power that many conservatives denied even existed. he claimed they extended to all the great public needs. it cannot be exerted to meet whatever the prevailing morality
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or pre-pondering public opinion deems necessary. it would be adequate. in this case and several others, the court majority said that emergencies could call to government with expanded powers. not only those under specific constitutional causes but under a general police power. he concluded the law had been carefully crafted and its tenure limited to two years. in a companion case, the court upheld a similar new york statute. not everyone agreed with holmes. argued that emergencies did not create new powers or wipe away constitutional limits. homes had essentially put forward in adequacy of the constitution i've argument -- constitution argument.
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admitting that -- the argument had not been settled when another emergency arose a decade later. the great depression. it was again raised the question of how far the government could go in trying to deal with it. by the time the court had heard the case, the two-year limit had already expired. all shots have been fired on the front. the league of nations had been defeated by the senate. toren harding led -- went 1600 -- warren harding lived and 69 pennsylvania ave. in 1600 pennsylvania avenue. in august 1922 a, ordered that rents in the chattel tin apartment buildings be reduced. when the case reached the supreme court, the court delivered the opinion this time
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for a unanimous bench. the emergency had passed, he wrote an government could no longer exercise the powers that had come into being with the war . the great war left an indelible constitutional footprint on american history. the decisions that came before the high court would have a lasting influence. had toe united states prepare itself for the second world war, no one questions the constitutional legitimacy of the draft or the huge expansion of governmental powers exercised by the administration. although we tend to think of the ,920's as a reactionary period the picture is not entirely true and needs refinement. although mcreynolds and other conservatives wanted to treat the war as a constitutional anomaly, the court majority upheld the expansion of federal
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powers even in peacetime. it certainly privileged federal authority over the states. 1920 began court in the incorporation of the bill of rights through the 14th amendment due process clause to reply the protections -- to apply the protections against the states. the debate began with wartime speech cases of 1919. during the great war, one person paying very close attention to how the government's authority expanded to meet the crisis was the young assistant secretary of the navy, franklin delano roosevelt. showing, the was new deal employed the analog of war. roosevelt promised in his 1933 inaugural that if congress could not solve the problems caused by the depression, he would ask for broad executive authority to
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wage war against the emergency as great as the power would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe. they key legislative proposal, the national recovery act was modeled on the war industries board. roosevelt, like lincoln before him, intuitively understood that the constitution would be adequate to meet the demands of the depression and war. thank you. [applause] >> interested in american history tv? visit our website, c-span.org/history. you can view our schedule and preview upcoming programs. tv atan history c-span.org/history.
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week, american artifacts takes you to museums and historic places to learn about american history here is a brief look at one of our recent trips. >> how did we find out about this? in 1931, the president of the college of blame at mary and the son of john tyler came across papers at the new york public library. they were known as the nibbly papers and they chronicle the journey across the atlantic dr. tyler was excited to find this. he lived on the james river and close to the plantation. he wrote an article about his find. i think this was the first time people realized that the first thanksgiving had happened in virginia and not in massachusetts.
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he wrote his article and told his neighbor who was mackey jamison at the time -- mac jamison. in 1958, the jamison family invited the woodley family to the plantation to celebrate the historic event that happened on our land. the woodley family started meeting in 1958. three years later, they opened it to the public. as we celebrate the thanksgiving, we celebrate it with the virginia thanksgiving festival that has been held for the last 57 years. it re-creates the first thanksgiving and the landing that occurred at berkeley. colonial games take place. the main purpose is we have been reenacting that thanksgiving ever since 1958 as they had ordered in the papers. once captain would leave left england, they had given him instructions to do 10 things.
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the first thing was when he led, to say thank you for their safe journey and to do that perpetually and annually. that is why captain would leave had his men kneel and give the prayer of thanks. we think it was because it was ordered by england. lots of thanksgivings in the new world were spontaneous. the one at berkeley was the one that was official because it was ordered by england to be done perpetually and annually. that makes a difference between the thanksgiving at berkeley and the pilgrims at massachusetts. it was two years earlier. with us to historic sites, museums, and archives. each sunday at 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. eastern.
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on our weekly series, american artifacts. this is american history tv, all weekend on c-span3. this year, c-span is touring cities around the country, exploring american history. next, a look at recent visit to memphis, tennessee. you are watching american history tv out -- history tv all weekend, every weekend. >> this is in the south part of the united states next to the mississippi river. i think memphis is best noun for music and food. -- best known for music and food. the blues were perfected in memphis. rock 'n' roll was invented here. soul still defines the city. memphis is roughly 65% african-american. memphis during the civil war was the heart of the confederacy and

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