But Perkins was worried. The Supreme Court was moving toward a narrow interpretation of the Commerce Clause that would invalidate many of the great achievements of the New Deal. Soon that would include the National Recovery Act, the capstone of FDR’s famous First Hundred Days in 1933.
(It would be another four years before Justice Owen Roberts—no relation—would famously switch sides and the Court would begin reversing itself, partly in response to FDR’s 1937 “court packing” scheme.)
Perkins went to dinner at the home of someone lost to history and recalls in her memoirs that she bumped into Justice Harlan Fiske Stone there.
When Perkins expressed worry about whether an old-age and survivors insurance program would pass constitutional muster, Stone, a Republican appointee to the court and future chief justice, replied: “The taxing power of the federal government, my dear; the taxing power is sufficient for everything you want and need.”
Yes, the seeds were planted long ago. We should've listened to Sheriff John Brown.