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June 2007 marked the 55th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Steel Seizure Case. On June 2, 1952, the Supreme Court decided in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co., v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579, that President Truman’s seizure of most of the nation’s steel mills to avert a nation-wide strike of steelworkers and keep the mills operating during the Korean War was an unauthorized, unconstitutional executive action that could not stand.

The steel companies presented their claims initially to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which ruled against the Government on all points and issued a preliminary injunction.

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit promptly stayed the injunction, deeming it best that the issues raised be decided by the Supreme Court.

In a special program, “The Steel Seizure Case in Historical Perspective: Presidential Power in Wartime,” a panel of experts brought together by the Society analyzed the decision and its enduring ramifications. “The Steel Seizure Case in Historical Perspective” is below for viewing.

Panelists included: Patricia Bellia, Constitutional Law Professor, Notre Dame Law School; John Q. Barrett, Professor, St. John’s University School of Law and Biographer of Justice Robert H. Jackson; Louis Fisher, Senior Specialist in Separation of Powers with the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress and Author of “Presidential War Power;” Maeva Marcus, Author of “Truman and the Steel Seizure Case;” and Stanley L. Temko, Senior Counsel, Covington & Burling LLP, and Attorney for Petitioner United States Steel Corporation in the Steel Seizure Case.

Carl Stern, former Legal Affairs Correspondent for NBC-TV, moderated the discussion. Over 250 judges, lawyers, professors, law clerks, law students and others attended the panel discussion.

The program was held on July 25, 2007, in the Ceremonial Courtroom of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse. A reception followed the program.

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