Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer

(1952)

Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer, famously known as the Steel Seizure Case, is a landmark Supreme Court decision that belongs in the pantheon of great constitutional law cases. The defining issue in Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer—whether the president possesses an inherent emergency power to seize control of an industry, such as the steel mills, in the midst of a crisis—compelled the Supreme Court to engage in the most penetrating examination of executive power in the country’s history. The federal judge David A. Pine’s ruling that nothing in the Constitution supports the assertion of an undefined, unlimited inherent power in the presidency was affirmed by the Supreme Court, by a 6–3 vote. Youngstown Sheet and Tube generated high political drama, sharp legal conflict, and tides of public opinion, with the U.S. Supreme Court facing issues of surpassing importance for a nation committed to the rule of law.

Youngstown Sheet and Tube originated in a threatened...

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Hugo Black (Library of Congress)

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