The Hughes Court (1930–41)

Commerce and Labor

CourtSpeak: United States v. Butler
Agricultural Production Case (1936)

Justice Owen Roberts (majority): “It does not help to declare that local conditions throughout the nation have created a situation of national concern; for this is but to say that whenever there is a widespread similarity of local conditions, Congress may ignore constitutional limitations upon its own powers and usurp those reserved to the states.”

Justice Harlan Fiske Stone (dissenting): “The power of courts to declare a statute unconstitutional is subject to two guiding principles of decision which ought never to be absent from judicial consciousness. One is that courts are concerned only with the power to enact statutes, not with their wisdom. The other is that while unconstitutional exercise of power by the executive and legislative branches of the government is subject to judicial restraint, the only check upon our own exercise of power is our own sense of self-restraint. For the removal of unwise laws from the statute books appeal lies, not to the courts, but to the ballot and to the processes of democratic government.”


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Supreme Court Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App