The Paradox of Paternalism and Laissez-Faire Constitutionalism: United States Supreme Court, 1888-1921
Law and History Review, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 249-279, 1987
33 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2010
Date Written: March 1, 1987
After World War I, the Supreme Court was poised to join or even to lead the country in its quest for a return to normalcy. Had the Justices paused to assess the status of paternalism when Taft joined them in 1921, they might have seen that earlier constitutional efforts to confine and control the threat were inconsistent and largely unavailing. The federal judiciary had not succeeded in its effort, as Brooks Adams put it, 'to dislocate any comprehensive body of legislation whose effect would be to change the social status'. But protecting individuals and the nation from the dangers of debilitating legislative protection was not a cause to be abandoned lightly and the Taft Court tried to stem the tide.
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