Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

I did not know that FDR seized Montgomery Ward when it's CEO, Sewell L. Avery, refused to negotiate with the company's Chicago warehouse union. Here's Avery being carried out of his office.
There was a statutory basis for Roosevelt's action, which distinguishes it from Truman's seizing the steel mills, but there is nevertheless an interesting Constitutional issue here. The Supreme Court based its decision in Youngstown Sheet Metal and Tube,  in part, because Congress had not authorized Truman's action. This leaves open the question of whether Congress could authorize the President to so act. As it happens FDR's action was politically unpopular, and two weeks after Montgomery Ward was seized the government relinquished control. It's interesting to consider whether adherence to norms would work the same way today.

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