Monetary Decisions of the Supreme Court

Monetary Decisions of the Supreme Court

Monetary Decisions of the Supreme Court

Monetary Decisions of the Supreme Court

Excerpt

This work traces a series of decisions of the Supreme Court which have raised the monetary power of the United States government from relative insignificance to almost unlimited authority.

The emergence of federal monetary authority provides a vivid illustration of the process of constitutional development. The Constitution says little on the subject, with the result that the Supreme Court has had to say a good deal. The generality of the Constitution on this point is no accident; the Founding Fathers regarded political control of monetary institutions with an abhorrence born of bitter experience, and they seriously considered writing a sharp limitation on such governmental activity into the Constitution itself. Yet they did not, and by "speaking in silences" gave the government they founded the near-absolute authority over currency and coinage that has always been considered the necessary consequence of national sovereignty.

From this obscure origin, the money power developed both as cause and effect of the profound changes in the institution of money that occurred in the ensuing century and a half. The context of this judicial development divides, both chronologically and organically, into two sequences. The first set of decisions grew out of friction of this national power with the residual authority of the states. The second took up where the substance of the first left off and at-

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