No one can truly say that our courts have held us back or have ever exhibited a spirit of mere literalness and reaction. Many a series of cases has built the implications of the Constitution out to meet the needs and the changing circumstances of the nation's life.
The process has seemed at times a little too facile. The courts have seemed upon occasion to seek in the law what they wished to find rather than what frank and legitimate inference would yield. Once and again they have been all too complacent in giving Congress lease to read its powers as best suited its convenience at a particular exigency in affairs. It is to be feared that they did so in connection with the many difficult questions which arose in regard to the settlements which followed upon the war between the States.
But for the most part their method and their inferences have been conservative enough. The wonder is that they have kept so level a keel while serving a nation which has always insisted upon carrying so much sail.
When the Constitution was framed there were no railways, there was no telegraph, there was no telephone. The Supreme Court has read the power of Congress to____________________