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Constitutional Law Keyed to Barnett
Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer
Citation:The Steel Seizure Case 343 U.S. 579 (1952)
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In the 1950s, workers at steel mills in the United States went on a nationwide strike. This occurred during the Korean War, when steel was an essential commodity for production of weapons. President Truman issued an Executive Order giving his Secretary of Commerce power to take possession of steel mills where workers were on strike. The President notified Congress of his executive order, and Congress took no action. The Government (on behalf of the President) argued that seizure of the mills was necessary to avert a crisis that would result if the steel mills stopped production of steel due to union strikes. The Government explained that the President had this authority because of his constitutional powers as the Nation’s Chief Executive (through the “take care” and vesting clauses of the Constitution) and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. The mill owners argued that the seizure of the mills was impermissible lawmaking, a power that was reserved for the legislative branch (Congress) in the U.S. Constitution.
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