Congress or the Supreme Court: Which Shall Rule America?

By Egbert Ray Nichols | Go to book overview

STATE AND NATION*

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

I have been asked to talk about the respective powers of the National and the State Governments to rule and regulate, where one begins and the other ends. By some curious twist of the public mind, under the terms "Home Rule" or "States' Rights," this problem has been considered by many to apply, primarily, to the prohibition issue.

As a matter of fact and law, the governing rights of the States are all of those which have not been surrendered to the National Government by the Constitution or its amendments. Wisely or unwisely, people know that under the Eighteenth Amendment Congress has been given the right to legislate on this particular subject, but this is not the case in the matter of a great number of other vital problems of Government, such as the conduct of public utilities, of banks, of insurance of business, of agriculture, of education, of social welfare and of a dozen other important features. In these, Washington must not be encouraged to interfere.

The proper relations between the Government of the United States and the governments of the separate states thereof depend entirely, in their legal aspects, on what

____________________
*
Excerpts from the speech of Franklin D. Roosevelt, delivered over a nationwide radio hookup March 2, 1930. Reprinted from the United States News.

-354-

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