Steel Seizure Case

Samuel Bagenstos srbagenstos at wulaw.wustl.edu
Fri Jan 20 11:29:51 PST 2006


Because when Truman took over the steel mills, he could give the workers the raise they were asking for.  A Taft-Hartley injunction would have just forced them back to work.  Not to mention that the labor movement has a visceral hatred for the Taft-Hartley law (a law passed over Truman's veto), which hatred was especially acute back then.

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Samuel R. Bagenstos
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Washington University School of Law
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>>> <rjlipkin at aol.com> 1/20/2006 1:15:13 PM >>>
       Wouldn't either alternative effectively end the strike? If so, why was one politically more advantageous?
 
Bobby

Robert Justin Lipkin
Professor of Law
Widener University School of Law
Delaware
 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: isomin at gmu.edu 
To: DavidEBernstein at aol.com 
Cc: Conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu 
Sent: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 12:09:42 -0500
Subject: Re: Steel Seizure Case


Actually, it goes even farther than that. The Taft-Hartley Act gave the 
president the power to force the steel mills to stay open by requiring the union 
to end its strike. But Truman didn't want to do it that way because the unions 
were key political allies of the Democratic Party at the time (even more so than 
today). So Truman seized the mills not because this was the only way to protect 
national security (even assuming that keeping them open really was essential), 
but because this way of keeping them open was more politically advantageous to 
him than the way permitted by Congress.

Ilya Somin
Assistant Professor of Law
George Mason University School of Law
3301 Fairfax Dr.
Arlington, VA 22201
ph: 703-993-8069
fax: 703-993-8202
e-mail: isomin at gmu.edu 
Website: http://mason.gmu.edu/~isomin/ 

If I'm reading the dissent correctly, Truman's ultimate justification for seizing the steel mills is not really his war power, but his desire to protect his (inane) economic stabilization plan by not agreeing to increase prices paid to the steel companies  for steel. (Truman: "The only was that I kow of ... by which a steel shut-down could have been avoided was to grant the demands of the steel industry for a large price increase.... this would have wrecked our stabilization program.") This seems like an incredibly thin reed on which to justify dictatorial executive action, seems to directly contradict and even go beyond the unanimous opinion in Schechter Poultry regarding executive power (no longer good law in 1952 at all?) and but doesn't seem to be focused on by any of the other opinions.  Am I missing something?  Why do the Justices even take seriously the War Powers argument when Truman himself admits that the ultimate foundation of his actions was "economic stabilizati!
 on."
 
David E. Bernstein
Visiting Professor
University of Michigan School of Law
Professor
George Mason University School of Law
http://mason.gmu.edu/~dbernste 
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