Presidential Executive Privilege Invoked by Truman
The case of Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer clearly demonstrates the situation when the President invoked the presidential executive privilege. The circumstances of the case occurred in 1952. Workers’ strikes in the steel industry plants organized in the period of the Korean War, which began in 1950, caused the government concern as the strike could affect the uninterrupted production of steel that was rather necessary for the United States Forces in Korea. In view of this concern, President Harry S. Truman issued an executive decree, in which the US Secretary of Commerce was instructed to dispose of in favor of the US privately owned steel mills and put them under the control of the functioning federal government.
The Supreme Court ruled that the executive decree was unconstitutional. The fact that earlier Congress passed a general law concerning labor relations containing provisions prohibiting the alienation of factories by the government in emergency situations caused by labor disputes. Thus, the executive decree initiated by the President according to his right to presidential executive privilege was invalid because it came into conflict with the course of the legal regulation in this area already proclaimed by Congress.
From my point of view, the President tried to protect the interests of the US. However, I believe that this issue might be decided in a more appropriate manner. It seems that the decree initiated by the President might cause even more difficulties with Korean workers leading to misunderstanding or even war. Therefore, my opinion is in line with those of the Congress that rejected the presidential executive privilege in that case.