Congress or the Supreme Court: Which Shall Rule America?

By Egbert Ray Nichols | Go to book overview

THE PRESIDENT AND THE CONSTITUTION*

Has President Roosevelt violated his oath of office? Has he broken his pledge to "preserve" the Constitution by urging members of Congress not to permit "doubts, however reasonable, as to the constitutionality" of the Guffey coal bill to block enactment? A few days ago a reader of the Monitor made this charge openly in a letter printed on this page. Newspapers have been publishing the presidential oath side by side with Mr. Roosevelt's words in his letter two weeks ago to Representative Samuel Hill of Illinois with apparent purpose to leave such impression. Mr. Snell, Republican leader in the House of Representatives, merely permits himself to say that the President "has come perilously close to what some people call impeachable grounds."

The question is not so simple to answer as may appear. If the President knows the Guffey bill to be unconstitutional he has been remiss in his duty. But can he know that? Can anyone know it until the Supreme Court decides? The Supreme Court cannot decide until a law has been enacted. There have been attempts to have the Supreme Court give advisory opinions, but it has been considered sounder and more in keeping with the division of powers under the American system to avoid

____________________
*
Editorial, Christian Science Monitor, Fri., June 26, 1935. Used by special permission.

-350-

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