July 6, 1935 - Editorial - Fundamental Principles, by George Lorimer

Since the Supreme Court's decision on NRA, comment and analysis have poured forth like waters from Niagra. Yet one fact stands out clearly - the decision not only reaffirms but in a very real sense re-establishes certain of the fundamental principles of American nationhood. These come under two main heads: First, neither Congress nor the President can depart from the basic framework of our Government. If this framework is to be changed - and there is ample provision for changing it - the people themselves must make the alteration through an open proposal for an amendment to the Constitution. As Senator Borah has said:

If the people wish to wipe out state lines and consolidate the Union into one unbroken empire, they have the power under the Constitution to do so. No one else has. The people know what, if any, portion of their local rights they are safe in surrendering better, far better than the courts, or the Congress, or the executive departments can possibly know. There is an instinct in regard to such matters more to be trusted than the wisdom of rulers.

It has been pointed out frequently - more than once in these columns - that the speeches of the President immediately before election and the platform of his own party have afforded no justification for a large portion of the New Deal measures. But the Supreme Court goes further than that. It says that certain essential measures of the New Deal program are not even in accord with the basic framework itself.

Few Americans are willing to exchange this country, with its constitutional limitations upon centralized power, for a country which has no such limits. (pg. 22)

Comments: Lorimer was wrong. It turned out that most people were willing to allow their Constitution to be trampled and violated, for they re-elected the very political forces that were trampling it by a landslide in the next election. The desire for security in most people was far greater than their desire to preserve their constitutional rights.

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