As America struggled to emerge from the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt threw his reputation behind a sweeping new safety net for seniors called Social Security — and the courts quickly rebelled.
The law was unprecedented, wrote U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Scott Wilson. Worse, said Wilson, it seizes power that rightfully belongs to the states and lodges it with big-government reformers in Washington. If Social Security is allowed to stand, Wilson concluded in his opinion declaring it unconstitutional, there will be no limits to what Congress can force people to do. Just over one month later, the Supreme Court promptly struck Wilson’s opinion down.
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