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

By W. Durant C. | Go to book overview

LIGHT FINES ARE JOKES

Silas E. Speckman United States Commissioner, Springfield, Colorado

THE enforcement laws making the 18th Amendment to the Federal Constitution operative are largely a patched-up plan, such as a not too whole-hearted Congress might enact, yet containing so much good and useful material that it is not desirable to undertake to restate the law in an entirely new act, which would likely prove impracticable to a wiser yet not chastened Congress that might refuse such enactment in toto.

A careful reading of the 18th Amendment and the National Prohibition Act reveals at once that the statute is broader in its wording than the Amendment itself. The Amendment does not state that possession of liquor is unconstitutional, yet the statute in the plainest of language provides that possession may be illegal, and necessarily so.

Yet one of the weakest points in the statute is the provision in Section 33 of Title II, which allows privately owned stocks of liquors at the date on which the 18th Amendment became effective to be legally held if accounted for within a certain time.


Private Stocks Block Law

The private ownership of large stocks of intoxicants by wealthy and influential citizens has brought about more disrespect for the enforcement laws and enforcement officials than perhaps any other single provision of the prohibitory laws. Section 33 to Title II should be amended to provide in view of private possession covered by statutory provision that the United Statesshall confiscate all such privately owned stocks of liquor, whether large or small, and reimburse the owner in cash for his loss, com-

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