Arthur R. Ellison District Attorney, Watkins Glen, New York
FOR nearly a decade the government of the United States has been attempting to make the 18th Amendment effective by operation of the Volstead Law. This has been characterized as an experiment in government. For the present, at least, it would be more practicable to carry out the experiment to its conclusion than it would be to make a radical departure or to attempt something entirely different when the present law contains many desirable features which should be retained.
Furthermore, the espousing of an entirely different theory of enforcement at this time might be regarded as an admission of the impracticability of the enforcement of prohibition. It is better then, rather than to discard the Volstead Act, that we should retain it in its present form but strengthen it with additions which will make it practically enforceable.
It is not the purpose of this plan to enter into a discussion,neither will remedies be advanced excepting only those which seem to be peculiar to the law under discussion, neither will remedies be advanced excepting those particularly adapted to such law.
The Volstead Act is basically correct. But, while it is well adapted to the effective enforcement of the 18th Amendment, the fact cannot be denied that there are elements of weakness in the Act. Those weaknesses make the Act the subject of criticism, such criticism often wrongfully extending beyond the Act to the Amendment itself.
The weaknesses of the Volstead Act will be taken up separately and remedies suggested as follows: