Dillon v. Gloss

256 U.S. 368, 41 S. Ct. 510 (1921)

 

RULE:

After ratification of a Constitutional amendment is consummated, its legal effect is operative and it is in force regardless of whether a proclamation has been issued.

FACTS:

Defendant was in custody under the National Prohibition Act on a charge of transporting intoxicating liquor in violation of the Act. He sought to be discharged on the grounds that  first, the Eighteenth Amendmant to the Constitution, to enforce which Title II of the act was adopted, is invalid because the congressional resolution proposing the Amendment, declared that it should be inoperative unless ratified within seven years; and, secondly, that, in any event, the provisions of the act which the petitioner was charged with violating, and under which he was arrested, had not gone into effect at the time of the asserted violation nor at the time of the arrest. The district court denied his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, and defendant appealed. The United States Supreme Court held that the Eighteenth Amendment was not invalid as it was properly ratified. The Court held that the provisions of the Act which the defendant was charged with violating and under which he was arrested had gone into effect at the time of his alleged offense and his arrest. The order was affirmed.

ISSUE:

Did the district court err in denying the petition on the ground that the Eighteenth Amendment was not invalid as was properly ratified?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

The provisions of the act which the petitioner was charged with violating and under which he was arrested were by the terms of the act to be in force from and after the date when the Eighteenth Amendment should go into effect, and the latter by its own terms was to go into effect one year after being ratified. Its ratification, of which we take judicial notice, was consummated January 16, 1919. That the Secretary of State did not proclaim its ratification until January 29, 1919, is not material, for the date of its consummation, and not that on which it is proclaimed, controls. It follows that the provisions of the act with which the petitioner is concerned went into effect January 16, 1920.  His alleged offense and his arrest were on the following day; so his claim that those provisions had not gone into effect at the time is not well grounded.

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