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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (April 1, 1918)
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Put none but raiificationists on guard. Democrats and Re-
wblicans everywhere should see to it that every candidate for the
late legislature is openly pledged to vote for the ratification of the
ational Prohibition Amendment. Take no chances This- is
e supreme domestic issue until Constitutional Prohibition is secured.
)r unaries a. wmtman or JNew xoric,
it message to the legislature, exposed
of the referendum for ratification of
istitutional amendments. His message"
to communicate with your honorable
iie subject of a proposed so-called ref-
to the voters of the state on the ques-
Le ratification of the resolution of con-
fposlng an amendment to the constitu
te United States prohibiting the uianu-
tle and transportation of intoxicating
leral. constitution provides the method
the people of the state may act and the
fod by which they may legally ratify or
Bh a proposed amendment, namely, ac-
Hi not be opposed to allowing the peo-
fcvote if it were possible under the fed-
iitution; but this measure confers no
tatever upon the people. I do not op-
Imeasure in its present form because it
jndum. My objection is that it is not
Inot be a referendum, as the public un-
the term. A referendum vote on. a
amendment to the state constitution is
The result of a vote under this meas-
ild it become a law would leave the
tre exactly where it is now.
i0"'"'" " w - -"- -Q - '--
iy bound to abide by the result or the
so-called "referendum." Hence, such
rould not relieve any member of the
ire of his ultimate and unescapable re-
Uity cither to ratify or reject.
I'd the majority in the state be against
tion, no man elected from a district with
Lion majority could be expected, as the
itative of his constituents, to vote
prohibition. -Nor is it likely that a man
T 4XU1X1 U BU-liOIlcu net ujo(.wb iruuiu.
r prohibition even though the majority
atate might be for prohibition.
ther words, the result of a campaign lin-
i proposed measure would be without
E and without effect. It is an evasion
fdeception, and' I am not willing to be a
to the foistering upon the public of a dis-
the assembly in square acceptance of its
ftion amendment, no matter how much I
have doubted the wisdom of such an ac-
should not- have interfered,
co lmn hpftn and there will be no effort on
irt of the executive to compel ratification.
exclusively the province of the legislature
ilfv or reiect. Far better that the amend-
fbe rejected now and be left far the action
rubsequent legislature than to permit this
Lion to be imnosed unon the people.
the members of your honorable body .well
I the state law enacted last year provides
real referendum on the liquor question in
town and city of the state where tne cit
tdcHirfi that such' a vote be had.
lis interesting to note that many of- the.
irtets of this proposed so-called referendum
only a year ago, in open opposition to the
submission of an honest referendum to the peo
ple on the subject of a prohibition amendment
to the state constitution, and were bitter in their
opposition to the present local .option law 'of
the state with its provisions for an effective
referendum in every city.
I do not question, however, that some of the
members of your honorable body have been hon-
- estly misled in this matter.
Judge "Ruggles, presiding judge of the court
' of appeals, speaking for the court in the case
of Barto vs. Himrod (8 N. Y., 483), as far back
as 1853, in regard to the delegation of legisla
tive authority, said:
"The legislature has no power to make a stat
ute dependent on s.uch a contingency, because
it would be confiding to others that legislative
discretion which they are bound to exercise
themselves, and which they can not delegate or
commit to any other man or men to be exercised.
They have no more authority to refer such a
'question to the whole people than to an indi
vidual. The people are sovereign, but their
sovereignty must be exercised In the mode
which they have pointed out in the constitution.
All legislative power is derived from the people;
but when the people adopted the constitution,
they surrendered the power of making laws to
the legislature, and imposed it upon that body
as a duty; they did not reserve to themselves
the power of ratifying or adopting laws pro
posed by the legislature, except in the single
case of contracting public debt. They probably
foresaw the evil consequences likely to arise
from such a reservation; these are well and
forcibly expressed by Mr. Justice Johnson, in
his opinion in the case of Johnson v. Rich, 9
Barb. 686. 'I regard it,' said he, 'as an unwise
and unsound policy, calculated to lead to loose
and improvident legislation, and to take away
from the legislator all just sense of his high
and enduring responsibility to his constituents
and to posterity, by shifting that responsibility
upon others. Experience has also shown, that
laws passed in this manner are seldom perma
nent, but are changed the moment the instru
ment under which they are ratified has abated
or reversed its current; of all the evils which
afflict a state, that of unstable and capricious
legislation is among the greatest.' "
While this decision dealt with the right of
the legislature to make a statute dependent
upon the vote of the people, yet the theory of
government would apply to the present case.
It is interesting to note that this plan," plainly
a subterfuge, has been proposed once before in
the history of this state in its legislature. This
is not a new idea. It originated with the so
called Tweed minority in the senate in 1869.
It was the way the minority in the senate, not
conspicuous for loyalty to the federal govern
ment or to the interests of the state, endeav
ored to beat the fifteenth amendment to the
constitution, the amendment which provided
that the right to vote should not be denied on
account of race, color or previous condition of
servitude. The Assembly had ratified the
amendment; the resolution to submit to the
people was introduced in the senate for the
acknowledged purpose of defeating this historic
measure. Tweed was able to rally fifteen of the
thirty-two senators to its support. The resolu
tion was beaten on a vote of seventeen to fif
teen; the game fifteen senators immediately af
terwards voting against the ratification of the
From, then until today no member of the
legislature of New Yorko far as I have been
able to learn, has presumed to suggest by res-
olution offered in that body, that its members
worp unable or unwilling to perform the duties' '
imposed upon thorn by the oath of office and. by
the constitution of the United States of America..
The only precedent for the contemplated 'ac-
tion of the present legislature is the one which!
I have indicated.
The plan conceived by Tweed and his follow
ers was intended to prevent the enfranchise
ment of the emancipated negro. It was de
feated nearly fifty years ago by the intelligent
and law-abiding majority of the senators of th'o
state of Now York.
It is inconceivable to mo that the method de
vised by "William M. Tweed to defeat the pro-'
visions of the constitution of the United State's'
or at least for the purposo of avoiding the per
formance of a plain duty imposed by that fn-'f
strument, should be adopted today by the legis-'
lature, of New York for the same purpose.
I urge upon the -members of your honorable
body to consider the sacred nature of the oath "
which every one of you has taken, and the
provisions of the federal constitution which you
have sworn to support. ' '
A BANKER'S OPIxVION
"I wish you would urge with all your influ
ence the passage of the guaranty of deposits in .
national banks up to $5,000, as this would be a,
great help to the national banking system and,,
with the reserve banks, It seems to me that it,,
will be almost a Gibraltar for national banks.
.While you are not a banker, I think you will;
appreciate that these small deposits are what
banks cater to and ask for. I would rather have
20 people have $100,000 In our bank than to
have one person keep that amount with us.. InT.
fact, we like deposits from $100 up to $5,0.0Q,.
and a bank that has its deposits largely dis-.
trlbuted in this way, and its loans distributed
on a -similar basis, is the very strongest possible,
endorsement of good banking and prosperous.
"W. C. ROBINSON,
"Winfleld, Kansas." .':
Mr. Robinson Is one of the earliest bankers,,
in Kansas. He has had experience as a national. ;
banker and he has seen the success of the guar-,'
anty system in Kansas. His opinion is valuable.
The German spy system has grown to be such
a menace that the government is preparing to
deal with It with a stern hand. It should. The'
spy is the most wicked of all criminals, whether
actuated by love of money or inspired by love
of his country. He plots to kill without the
hazards of open warfare. Availing himself If
the protection of our country, and covering his
scheming by deceit, he not only reveals our
military plans but, when possible, mutilates our
machinery and paralyzes our efforts. Hundreds,
even thousands, of lives may be sacrificed as a
result of his activities.
Take, for instance, the spy work in the
aeroplane factory. It was found that enemies,
employed and working alongside of patriots,
were .substituting defective parts for sound parts
so that aviators would fall to their death and
our government would lose the value of their
service at critical times.
If any one deserves a death sentence, surely
it is the spy. No tears should be shed; no
mercy can be shown. . In war, life is staked
against life, and the death least. to be regretted
is the death of the spy. W. J. BRYAN.