Facts of the Case
In April of 1952, during the Korean War, President Truman issued an executive order directing Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer to seize and operate most of the nation's steel mills. This was done in order to avert the expected effects of a strike by the United Steelworkers of America.
Did the President have the constitutional authority to seize and operate the steel mills?
In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court held that the President did not have the authority to issue such an order. The Court found that there was no congressional statute that authorized the President to take possession of private property. The Court also held that the President's military power as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces did not extend to labor disputes. The Court argued that "the President's power to see that the laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a lawmaker."
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