According to received opinion, the case of the Home Bldg. & Loan Ass’n v. Blaisdell, decided in 1934, laid to rest any force the Contract Clause of the United States Constitution had to limit state legislation that affected existing contracts. But the Supreme Court’s subsequent decisions belies that claim. In fact, a few months later, the Court unanimously decided Worthen v. Thomas, which reaffirmed the vitality of the Contract Clause. Over the next few years, in twenty cases, the Court limited the reach of Blaisdell and confirmed the limiting force of the Contract Clause on state legislation. Only after World War II did the Court abandon the Contract Clause by interpreting Blaisdell well beyond its original intention. The Court in the 1930s had devised a workable formula that could be still workable today.
David F. Forte,
Forgotten Cases: Worthen v. Thomas,
66 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol66/iss4/5
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