The Doctrine of the Opinion of the Court

The chief points urged in the Black opinion are the following: There was no statute that expressly or impliedly authorized the President to take possession of the property involved. On the contrary, in its consideration of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947, Congress refused to authorize governmental seizures of property as a method of preventing work stoppages and settling labor disputes. Authority to issue such an order in the circumstances of the case was not deducible from the aggregate of the President’s executive powers under Article II of the Constitution; nor was the order maintainable as an exercise of the President’s powers as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. The power sought to be exercised was the law-making power, which the Constitution vests in the Congress alone. Even if it were true that other Presidents have taken possession of private business enterprises without congressional authority in order to settle labor disputes, Congress was not thereby divested of its exclusive constitutional authority to make the laws necessary and proper to carry out all powers vested by the Constitution “in the Government of the United States, or any Department or Officer thereof.”784


343 U.S. at 585–89. back