This Day in Legal History: April 9th
On April 9th, 1952, President Harry Truman
made a momentous decision. In the preceding weeks, steel workers
across the country had been threatening to go on strike, despite the desperate need for steel created by the Korean War
. President Truman, worried that mill-owners would use the strike as leverage to hike their prices, ordered that the government take over the mills before the strike could wreak havoc.
Truman’s steel-mill seizure was ruled unconstitutional in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (Fastcase users click for case)
; in a split decision, the Supreme Court ruled
that Truman needed legislative authorization
to seize private property, and Truman promptly returned the mills to their private owners. It was a landmark decision that many look to today
; some contend that the expansion of presidential powers in the fight against terrorism closely mirrors Truman’s actions on this day, April 9th, 1952.
Click here to listen to Truman’s radio address about the steel crisis.