July 1, 2012

SUFFICIENT:

The 1934 Dinner Party That May Have Helped Save Obamacare (Jonathan Alter, Jul 1, 2012, Daily Beast)

In late 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had been in office more than a year and decided to move forward on what would become his greatest domestic achievement: Social Security. He assigned his secretary of labor, Frances Perkins, the first woman ever to serve in the Cabinet, to lead the way on designing the program.

But Perkins was worried. The Supreme Court was moving toward a narrow interpretation of the Commerce Clause that would invalidate many of the great achievements of the New Deal. Soon that would include the National Recovery Act, the capstone of FDR's famous First Hundred Days in 1933.

(It would be another four years before Justice Owen Roberts--no relation--would famously switch sides and the Court would begin reversing itself, partly in response to FDR's 1937 "court packing" scheme.)

Perkins went to dinner at the home of someone lost to history and recalls in her memoirs that she bumped into Justice Harlan Fiske Stone there.

When Perkins expressed worry about whether an old-age and survivors insurance program would pass constitutional muster, Stone, a Republican appointee to the court and future chief justice, replied: "The taxing power of the federal government, my dear; the taxing power is sufficient for everything you want and need."

Posted by at July 1, 2012 8:27 AM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« WHAT NEITHER SIDE GRASPS IS THAT IT'S ALL JUST OPPORTUNITIES: | Main | IT LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE A MANDATE, BUT IT'S OUR MANDATE: »