Law Observance: Shall the People of the United States Uphold the Constitution?

By W. Durant C. | Go to book overview

MODERNIZE THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM

J. Q. Brown Jr. United States Commissioner, Sacramento, California

THE problem of better enforcement of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is simple of solution, if we have the courage to apply the remedy.

The purpose of this paper is to suggest such remedy. It does not pretend to discuss the moral, religious or political aspects of prohibition. These are important, but the one thing most important is to offer "a practicable plan to make the 18th Amendment effective." This is Mr. Durant's specific request and to this alone I apply myself, drawing upon first hand and intimate experience with prohibition for many years.

In the first place, the passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution gave birth to national prohibition. Congress thereafter passed an enabling act in the form of the Volstead Act which put teeth into the national prohibition baby.

At the inception, therefore, one thing is clear: prohibition is the child of the federal government. Be it for better or worse, richer or poorer, wetter or drier, it cannot be gainsaid that national prohibition was created by the people in their national capacity. The wet states were against it then, and have since passed enabling acts only upon the principle of the duty of the state toward the federal government. They are dry in form, but inherently the people have not changed. There were a few bone dry states before the 18th Amendment and even these states show a wetter attitude, as far as concerns records of arrest by local authorities, than they did before national prohibition. This is due to the inherent desire of the state

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