West Virginia Law Review

Document Type



The enactment of "veterans' legislation" by the Congress of the United States, in all its various phases, is essentially a gift in the form of money or services to a specially constituted minority of citizens. Since the source of the funds applied to such purposes flows, by the incidence of taxation, from the assets of the people as a whole, the inquiry is at once suggested: upon what theory is justified this collection from the many and donation to the few? If, by hypothesis, all would agree that this is undemocratic, what is the basis for the exception to the general theory? The power of Congress to enact such legislation seems never to have been questioned. Perhaps it cannot be questioned judicially for the want of a proper party protestant, but of this more shall be said hereafter. The wisdom of such, legislation is, however, seriously debated. It has become a political issue of capital importance. For reasons later to be made apparent, it is impossible to dissociate the question of the wisdom of the laws from the question of their constitutionality. It is, therefore, the purpose of this article to inquire into the origin and constitutional basis of the power of Congress to enact veterans' legislation; and to discuss whether or not, conceding the existence of such power, it is unlimited.



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