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

By W. Durant C. | Go to book overview

"SECURE A POPULAR ATTITUDE OF IMPARTIALITY TOWARD THIS LAW"

Harold D. Shaft Assistant Attorney-General Bismarck, North Dakota

FUNDAMENTALLY, the prohibition law should remain intact. The failure of enforcement lies not so much in defects of the legal machinery as in the psychology of American people.

For various reasons, some sound and mostly unsound, a large and militant group of citizens feel that the prohibition law is not the will of the people, is an infringement upon sacred liberty and an unwarranted imposition upon the rights of free citizens.

Equally militant is the group which feels that the prohibition laws are more sacred than the Constitution itself and that any means of enforcement, any disregard of fundamental rights of privacy and any penalty for violation is justified to uphold the prohibition laws.

The two extreme factions have produced a curious situation.

On the one hand open advocates of nullification, widespread disobedience and a psychological feeling that the violator of the prohibition law is not a "criminal" in the same category as violators of other laws.

On the other hand we have the formation of a great governmental agency for the control of this one crime; we have side by side, our United States marshals, charged with the enforcement of all criminal laws, and United States prohibition enforcement officers charged with the enforcement of this one law; we have great civilian organizations existing for the sole purpose of assisting and directing the government in the enforcement of this one law; and we

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