• Ali Assareh

Today in Legal History: You can't drink, and you can't veto either! (October 28, 1919)

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

Today, on October 28, 1919, the U.S. Congress passed the Volstead Act, which effectively outlawed alcohol in the United States.


An interesting footnote to the Act's passage was that President Woodrow Wilson had vetoed it; but the U.S. Constitution allows Congress to override a presidential veto by a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate.


In his veto bill, Woodrow Wilson wrote, "In all matters having to do with the personal habits and customs of large numbers of our people, we must be certain that the established processes of legal change are followed. In no other way can the salutary object sought to be accomplished by great reforms of this character be made satisfactory and permanent."


The Volstead Act was repealed in 1933, a mere 14 years later.


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