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The Wickersham Commission Report on Alcohol Prohibition - 1930

STATEMENT BY NEWTON D.BAKER

In my opinion, the Eighteenth Amendment should be repealed and the whole question of policy and enforcement with regard to intoxicating liquors remitted to the Senate.

If, for practical reasons, immediate repeal bethought unattainable, a submission of the Amendment suggested in the report of the Commission would test the present sentiment of the country and, if the Amendment were adopted, would accomplish the double result of removing an arbitrary and inflexible police regulation from the Constitution, where it seems to me it should never have been put, and of giving Congress the power to adapt federal legislation on the subject, from time to time, to the realities of the situation as they may develop.

I have signed the report of the Commission because it is a fair finding of the facts disclosed to us by such evidence as was available, and because it is clear that so long as the Constitution and law remain as they now are, the recommendations of the report should be carried out to aid the Executive, charged with the duty of enforcement.

The efforts now being made to enforce the law are sincere and intelligent and aided and supplemented, as recommended in the report, a higher degree of effectiveness will be certain to follow, but in my opinion, the problem is insoluble so long as it is permitted to require a nation-wide federal enforcement of a police regulation, at variance with the settled habits and beliefs of so large a part of our people.

NEWTON D. BAKER. Washington, D.C., January 7, 1931.


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