United States v. Chambers
291 U.S. 217 (1934)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Chambers, 291 U.S. 217 (1934)

United States v. Chambers

No. 659

Argued January 16, 17, 1934

Decided February 5, 1934

291 U.S. 217

Syllabus

1. The Court takes judicial notice of the fact that the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment of the Constitution, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, was consummated on December 5, 1933. P. 291 U. S. 222.

2. Upon the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, the Eighteenth Amendment became inoperative, and neither the Congress nor the courts could give it continued validity. P. 291 U. S. 222.

3. The National Prohibition Act, to the extent that its provisions rested upon the grant of authority to Congress by the Eighteenth Amendment, immediately fell with the withdrawal by the people of the essential constitutional support. P. 291 U. S. 222.

4. Prosecutions for violations of the National Prohibition Act in a state, pending when the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed, cannot be continued. P. 291 U. S. 222.

Page 291 U. S. 218

5. In case a statute is repealed or rendered inoperative, no further proceedings can be had to enforce it in pending prosecutions unless competent authority has kept it alive for that purpose. P. 291 U. S. 223.

6. Section 13 of the Revised Statutes, providing that penalties and liabilities incurred under a statute are not to be extinguished by its repeal unless the repealing act shall so expressly provide, etc., is inapplicable where the statute imposing the penalties is rendered inoperative by the power of the people exercised through a constitutional amendment. P. 291 U. S. 223.

7. Instances in which Congress has provided for the transfer of cases pending in territorial courts as an incident to the exercise of its power to admit new states into the Union present no analogy to a case in which the power of Congress over the subject matter has been withdrawn by a constitutional amendment. P. 291 U. S. 225.

8. Prosecution for crimes is but an application or enforcement of the law, and if the prosecution is to continue, the law must continue to vivify it. P. 291 U. S. 226.

9. It is a continuing and vital principle that the people are free to withdraw authority which they have conferred, and, when withdrawn, neither Congress nor the courts can assume the right to continue to exercise it. P. 291 U. S. 226.

5 F.Supp. 153 affirmed.

Appeal under the Criminal Appeals Act from a judgment quashing an indictment for conspiracy to violate the National Prohibition Act, and for possessing and transporting intoxicating liquor in violation of that Act.

Page 291 U. S. 221

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