Judge John J. Gering Turner County Court, Marion, South Dakota
THE task of enforcing and making effective the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is not an impossible one if its contents are interpreted in the light in which it was understood by its supporters at the time of its adoption.
From the language of the Amendment it is clear and beyond successful argument that the authors of the Amendment intended it to mean that intoxicating liquors were to be prohibited from use for beverage purposes only. Beverage, as defined by Webster's dictionary, and as used in its widest and practical sense, means the use of intoxicants for the mere sake of drinking and for no useful or beneficent purpose. It follows therefore that the use of intoxicants for purposes other than beverage is permissible and Constitutional as well.
So to make the 18th Amendment effective let us find a remedy that will call for its enforcement in accordance with its spirit and in accordance with the meaning that was given to it at the time of its adoption.
Let us first consider why the 18th Amendment was adopted and made a part of the constitutional law of the land. The answer is simple and obvious. It was because there wats a problem before the American people. The problem was that intoxicating liquors were too easily available and therefore came to be used excessively to the injury of the moral, social and economic welfare of the people of this country. But it is a clear case to claim that this excessive use was always limited to only a small number of the total population of the land.