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

By W. Durant C. | Go to book overview

QUICKER PROSECUTION WITH BETTER MACHINERY

Thomas H. Noonan Supreme Court Justice, Buffalo, New York

BY the 18th Amendment "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes, is hereby prohibited." The second section provides that "the Congress and the several states shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

To make this Amendment effective, Congress passed the National Prohibition Act (Volstead Act) and both the Amendment and the enforcement act became effective January 16, 1920. The first section of the Amendment is operative throughout the entire territorial limits of the United States, binds all legislative bodies, courts, public officers, and individuals within those limits, and of its own force invalidates every legislative act--whether by Congress, by a state legislature, or by a territorial assembly--which authorizes or sanctions what the section prohibits. ( National Prohibition Cases, 254 U. S. 350.)

By this amendment Congress acquired the same police powers to stamp out the manufacture, sale and transportation of liquor in both interstate and intrastate commerce that the states had before the Amendment. ( U. S. v. Cohen, 268 Fed. 420, 425.) In other words, by the Amendment, Congress acquired a police power to enforce prohibition by all reasonable laws and regulations which only the states had before the Amendment. ( Schnitzler v. Yellowley, 290 Fed. 849; Millstone v. Yellowley, 290 Fed. 855.) Where this amendment conflicts with an older provision of the Con

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