The supreme court went into depth when elaborating the idea of inherent executive power during the case Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company v. Sawyer held in 1952 which soon caused it to become a landmark case when it came to how much power and authority the President held and under what governmental law. Inherent power is a type of power that is held by the U.S President, which are not specified in the Constitution but are needed to efficiently perform the duties of the office. 1 Stewardship power theory is the theory where a president that is currently in power practices a governing style that is usually based off of their belief, in this theory the president in power would take on certain actions needed to protect the national interest unless it is prohibited by the Constitution. At first glance it seems as President Truman was trying to do what he thought was best for the U.S. but failed to do it the correct way, causing the power conflict that arose from this order, the Congress came to a conclusion that it was indeed prohibited.
The Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer case was introduced when a strike of steelworkers in the year of 1952 occurred, the President at the time believed that would put the national defense in danger. At the time of the case, it was about 2 years that the U.S. was involved with the Korean War, the steel workers in America had a disagreement with the industrial managers over the amount they were getting paid. This action made the President create an executive order which he ordered the director of Commerce to seize and operate the steel mills. Thus creating the main question of this court case simple, did President Truman have the constitutional authority to operate the steel mills that he seized? Since this action affected a number of people and businesses, it was soon an issue that was brought to the supreme court.
While the Supreme Court discussed this incident they came to a conclusion (splitting 6-3) and refused to allow the government the right to seize and operate the steel mills. The inherent executive power that was deemed as a justification for the actions taken by President Truman wasn’t taken as an actual excuse for the order he wanted to accomplish. The court ruled on Jun 2, 1952 that Truman’s actions were seen as unconstitutional because they were done wrong and unauthorized by the Congress.
Justice Hugo Black and Justice Robert Jackson both had significant parts in the decision making of this case, Justice Jackson recognized the inherent executive power within the action but nonetheless came to a conclusion that the President’s actions were impermissible 2. Justice Jackson stated, “when the President takes measures incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress, his power is at its lowest.” 3 Jackson along with a number of others involved in the case believed that the President acted without congressional approval when ordering the seize over the steel mills creating the problem, to begin with. This action brought on by the President was initiated because he believed that this strike would cause trouble for the war effort and the economy at the time of need. President Truman was worried about the decline of work being made during a time of need against Korea, he stated during the time that “would immediately jeopardize and imperil our national defense and the defense of those joined with us in resisting aggression, and would add to the continuing danger of our soldiers, sailors, and airmen engaged in combat in the field.” 3 This decision lead on by the Supreme Court limited the power of the President’s authority to seize the property he tried to acquire.
The overall case holding was trying to prove that the President didn’t have the inherent power or Congress approval over the seizing of the property, under Article II of the Constitution. Again, the turnout being that they came to a conclusion that the President lacked the constitutional authority to take over the steel mills. The concept of inherent power wasn’t seen as an appropriate move for the President, this case was a milestone that prevented “too much” power given to the President over certain actions. The broad impact that this case had was important, at the time it helped represent and protect against the executive power that was given at the time. The Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company v. Sawyer was considered a significant landmark case that helped determine case from there on afterward. This case decided that the Constitution in which they follow to determine cases such as this one gives Congress and not the President the authority over this initial move. The Courts “separation of powers” was a big motive for this essential turnout.
The time difference between 1952 and 2018 is dramatic if you think about all the changes and developments we have made since then, we are even significantly different from a few years ago. I personally believe that this case would of need a tad bit similar as it ended back in 1952. The only difference I could possibly imagine is the amount of social media and problems that would arise from opposing parties when discussing such situation. Low wage has always been an important and common issue brought attention to amounts courts and overall life itself, even today we have wage problems still trying to be compromised. If this situation were to literally happen now, President Trump would have a wave of problems headed his way overwork wages, and power that is seen unauthorized by the Congress. Overall I believe the turnout would be similar, they would see the Presidents radical move as unconstitutional and not allow him from actually seizing the property from them. This being a landmark case already, would be a good reference if it took place again at this time, allowing them to see how it was handled at a certain time and compare.
Nonetheless, I believe that this was a quickly solved but crucially important case, this helped pave a way into similar occasions preventing a president from having too much power without proper rights to it. The Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer put a stop to presidential power they believed wasn’t authorized under the constitution, this had a lasting importance because it has continued to uphold the balance of power between branches. This is what the United States is about, to begin with, equality and not a government where the head of power (President) holds more cards in their hand then the rest of the government, creating a balance and separation between powers.


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