Lochner v. New York

Lochner v. New York

Overview
Lochner vs. New York, , was a landmark United States Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 case that held a "liberty of contract" was implicit in the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v...

. The case involved a New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 law that limited the number of hours that a baker
Baker
A baker is someone who bakes and sells bread, Cakes and similar foods may also be produced, as the traditional boundaries between what is produced by a baker as opposed to a pastry chef have blurred in recent decades...

 could work each day to ten, and limited the number of hours that a baker could work each week to 60. By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that the law was necessary to protect the health of bakers, deciding it was a labor law attempting to regulate the terms of employment, and calling it an "unreasonable, unnecessary and arbitrary interference with the right and liberty of the individual to contract." Justice Rufus Peckham
Rufus Wheeler Peckham
Rufus Wheeler Peckham was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1895 until 1909. He was known for his strong use of substantive due process to invalidate regulations of business and property. Peckham's namesake father was also a lawyer and judge, and a congressman...

 wrote for the majority, while Justices John Marshall Harlan
John Marshall Harlan
John Marshall Harlan was a Kentucky lawyer and politician who served as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. He is most notable as the lone dissenter in the Civil Rights Cases , and Plessy v...

 and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1902 to 1932...

 filed dissents.

Lochner was one of the most controversial decisions in the Supreme Court's history, giving its name to what is known as the Lochner era
Lochner era
The Lochner era is a period in American legal history in which the Supreme Court of the United States tended to strike down laws held to be infringing on economic liberty or private contract rights, and takes its name from a 1905 case, Lochner v. New York. The beginning of the period is usually...

.
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Encyclopedia
Lochner vs. New York, , was a landmark United States Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 case that held a "liberty of contract" was implicit in the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v...

. The case involved a New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 law that limited the number of hours that a baker
Baker
A baker is someone who bakes and sells bread, Cakes and similar foods may also be produced, as the traditional boundaries between what is produced by a baker as opposed to a pastry chef have blurred in recent decades...

 could work each day to ten, and limited the number of hours that a baker could work each week to 60. By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that the law was necessary to protect the health of bakers, deciding it was a labor law attempting to regulate the terms of employment, and calling it an "unreasonable, unnecessary and arbitrary interference with the right and liberty of the individual to contract." Justice Rufus Peckham
Rufus Wheeler Peckham
Rufus Wheeler Peckham was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1895 until 1909. He was known for his strong use of substantive due process to invalidate regulations of business and property. Peckham's namesake father was also a lawyer and judge, and a congressman...

 wrote for the majority, while Justices John Marshall Harlan
John Marshall Harlan
John Marshall Harlan was a Kentucky lawyer and politician who served as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. He is most notable as the lone dissenter in the Civil Rights Cases , and Plessy v...

 and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1902 to 1932...

 filed dissents.

Lochner was one of the most controversial decisions in the Supreme Court's history, giving its name to what is known as the Lochner era
Lochner era
The Lochner era is a period in American legal history in which the Supreme Court of the United States tended to strike down laws held to be infringing on economic liberty or private contract rights, and takes its name from a 1905 case, Lochner v. New York. The beginning of the period is usually...

. In the Lochner era, the Supreme Court issued several controversial decisions invalidating progressive federal and state statutes that sought to regulate working conditions during the Progressive Era
Progressive Era
The Progressive Era in the United States was a period of social activism and political reform that flourished from the 1890s to the 1920s. One main goal of the Progressive movement was purification of government, as Progressives tried to eliminate corruption by exposing and undercutting political...

 and the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

. Justice Harlan's dissent, joined by two other Justices, argued that the Court gave insufficient weight to the state's argument that the law was a valid health measure. Justice Holmes's famous lone dissent criticized the decision for discarding sound constitutional interpretation in favor of personal beliefs, writing: "[t]he Fourteenth Amendment does not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer
Herbert Spencer
Herbert Spencer was an English philosopher, biologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era....

's Social Statics
Social Statics
Social Statics, or The Conditions essential to Happiness specified, and the First of them Developed is an 1851 book by the British polymath Herbert Spencer...

." This was a reference to a book in which Spencer advocated a strict laissez faire philosophy.

During the quarter-century that followed Lochner, the Supreme Court generally upheld economic regulations, but also issued several rulings invalidating such regulations. The Court also began to use the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to protect personal (as opposed to purely property) rights, including freedom of speech and the right to send one's child to private school (which was the beginning of a line of cases interpreting privacy rights). The Lochner era is often considered to have ended with West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish
West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish
West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, , was a decision by the United States Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of minimum wage legislation enacted by the State of Washington, overturning an earlier decision in Adkins v. Children's Hospital,...

(1937), in which the Supreme Court took a much broader view of the government's power to regulate economic activities.

Background of the case


In 1895, the New York Legislature unanimously enacted the Bakeshop Act, which regulated sanitary conditions in bakeries and also prohibited individuals from working in bakeries for more than ten hours per day or sixty hours per week. In 1899, Joseph Lochner, owner of Lochner's Home Bakery in Utica
Utica, New York
Utica is a city in and the county seat of Oneida County, New York, United States. The population was 62,235 at the 2010 census, an increase of 2.6% from the 2000 census....

, was indicted on a charge that he violated the one hundred and tenth section of article 8, chapter 415, of the Laws of 1897, in that he wrongfully and unlawfully required and permitted an employee working for him to work more than sixty hours in one week and was fined $25. For a second offense in 1901, he drew a fine of $50 from the Oneida County Court.

Lochner chose to appeal his second conviction. However, the conviction was upheld by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court
New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division is the intermediate appellate court in New York State. The Appellate Division is composed of four departments .*The First Department covers the Bronx The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division is the intermediate...

 in a 3-2 vote. Lochner appealed again to the New York Court of Appeals
New York Court of Appeals
The New York Court of Appeals is the highest court in the U.S. state of New York. The Court of Appeals consists of seven judges: the Chief Judge and six associate judges who are appointed by the Governor to 14-year terms...

, where he lost by a 4-3 margin. After his defeat in the Court of Appeals (New York's highest court), Lochner took his case to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Lochner's appeal was based on the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which provides: "... nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." In a series of cases starting with Dred Scott v. Sandford
Dred Scott v. Sandford
Dred Scott v. Sandford, , also known as the Dred Scott Decision, was a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that people of African descent brought into the United States and held as slaves were not protected by the Constitution and could never be U.S...

(1857), the Supreme Court established that the due process clause (in both the 5th and 14th Amendments) is not merely a procedural guarantee, but also a "substantive" limitation on the type of control the government may exercise over individuals. Although this interpretation of the due process clause is a controversial one (see substantive due process), it had become firmly embedded in American jurisprudence by the end of the nineteenth century. Lochner argued that the "right to free contract" was one of the rights encompassed by substantive due process.

The Supreme Court had accepted the argument that the due process clause protected the right to contract seven years earlier, in Allgeyer v. Louisiana
Allgeyer v. Louisiana
Allgeyer v. Louisiana, , was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which a unanimous court struck down a Louisiana statute on grounds that it violated an individual's "liberty to contract." This was the first case in which the Supreme Court interpreted the word liberty in the Due Process...

(1897). However, the Court had acknowledged that the right was not absolute, but subject to the "police power" of the states. For example, Holden v. Hardy (1898), the Supreme Court upheld a Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

 law setting an eight-hour work day for miners
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

. In Holden, Justice Henry Brown
Henry Billings Brown
Henry Billings Brown was an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from January 5, 1891, to May 28, 1906. He was the author of the opinion for the Court in Plessy v...

 wrote that while "the police power cannot be put forward as an excuse for oppressive and unjust legislation, it may be lawfully resorted to for the purpose of preserving the public health, safety, or morals." The issue facing the Supreme Court in Lochner v. New York was whether the Bakeshop Act represented a reasonable exercise of the state's police power.

Lochner's case was argued by Henry Weismann (who had been one of the foremost advocates of the Bakeshop Act when he was Secretary of the Journeymen Bakers' Union). In his brief
Brief (law)
A brief is a written legal document used in various legal adversarial systems that is presented to a court arguing why the party to the case should prevail....

, Weismann decried the idea that "the treasured freedom of the individual ... should be swept away under the guise of the police power of the State." He denied New York's argument that the Bakeshop Act was a necessary health measure, claiming that the "average bakery of the present day is well ventilated, comfortable both summer and winter, and always sweet smelling." Weismann's brief contained an appendix providing statistics showing that bakers' mortality rates were comparable to that of white collar professionals.

The Supreme Court's decision



The Supreme Court, by a vote of 5-4, ruled that the law limiting bakers' working hours did not constitute a legitimate exercise of police powers. The opinion of the Court was delivered by Justice Rufus Peckham
Rufus Wheeler Peckham
Rufus Wheeler Peckham was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1895 until 1909. He was known for his strong use of substantive due process to invalidate regulations of business and property. Peckham's namesake father was also a lawyer and judge, and a congressman...

. Peckham began by asserting that the Fourteenth Amendment protected an individual's "general right to make a contract in relation to his business." He acknowledged that the right was not absolute, referring disparagingly to the "somewhat vaguely termed police powers" of the state. At the same time, Peckham argued that the police power
Police power
In United States constitutional law, police power is the capacity of the states to regulate behavior and enforce order within their territory for the betterment of the general welfare, morals, health, and safety of their inhabitants...

 was subject to certain limitations; otherwise, he claimed, the Fourteenth Amendment would be meaningless, and states would be able to pass any law using the police power as a pretext. He asserted that it was the court's duty to determine whether legislation is "a fair, reasonable and appropriate exercise of the police power of the State, or ... an unreasonable, unnecessary and arbitrary interference with the right of the individual ... to enter into those contracts in relation to labor which may seem to him appropriate."

The Attorney General of New York, Julius M. Mayer, had claimed in his brief that the government "has a right to safeguard a citizen against his own lack of knowledge." Peckham responded to this argument by writing that bakers "are in no sense wards of the State." He remarked that bakers "are ... able to assert their rights and care for themselves without the protecting arm of the State, interfering with their independence of judgment and of action."

Next, Peckham proceeded to disclaim the idea that long working hours posed a threat to the health of bakers. He addressed the argument with the following words: "To the common understanding, the trade of a baker has never been regarded as an unhealthy one." He added that relevant statistics showed that baking was no more or less healthful, on average, than other common professions. Although conceding the "possible existence of some small amount of unhealthiness," Justice Peckham contended that it was insufficient to justify interference from the state.

Hence, Peckham and his fellow Justices reached the conclusion that the New York law was not related "in any real and substantial degree to the health of the employees." Consequently, they held that the New York law was not a valid exercise of the state's police powers. Lochner's conviction was accordingly vacated.

Harlan's dissent


Justice John Marshall Harlan
John Marshall Harlan
John Marshall Harlan was a Kentucky lawyer and politician who served as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. He is most notable as the lone dissenter in the Civil Rights Cases , and Plessy v...

 delivered a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices White
Edward Douglass White
Edward Douglass White, Jr. , American politician and jurist, was a United States senator, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and the ninth Chief Justice of the United States. He was best known for formulating the Rule of Reason standard of antitrust law. He also sided with the...

 and Day
William R. Day
William Rufus Day was an American diplomat and jurist, who served for nineteen years as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.-Biography:...

. Justice Harlan contended that the liberty to contract under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is subject to regulation imposed by a State acting within the scope of its police powers. Justice Harlan offered the following rule for determining whether such statutes are unconstitutional: Justice Harlan asserted that the burden of proof should rest with the party seeking to have such a statute deemed unconstitutional.

Harlan contended that it was "plain that this statute was enacted to protect the physical well-being of those who work in bakery and confectionery establishments." Responding to the majority's assertion that the profession of a baker was not an unhealthy one, he quoted at length from academic studies describing the respiratory ailments and other risks that bakers faced. He argued that the Supreme Court should have deferred to the New York Legislature's judgment that long working hours threatened the health of bakery employees. According to Harlan, "If the end which the legislature seeks to accomplish be one to which its power extends, and if the means employed to that end, although not the wisest or best, are yet not plainly and palpably unauthorized by law, then the court cannot interfere."

Holmes' dissent


Another dissenting opinion was penned by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1902 to 1932...

. Although only three paragraphs long, Holmes' dissent is well-remembered and often quoted. Holmes accused the majority of judicial activism
Judicial activism
Judicial activism describes judicial ruling suspected of being based on personal or political considerations rather than on existing law. It is sometimes used as an antonym of judicial restraint. The definition of judicial activism, and which specific decisions are activist, is a controversial...

, pointedly claiming that the case was "decided upon an economic theory which a large part of the country does not entertain." He attacked the idea that the Fourteenth Amendment enshrined the liberty of contract, citing laws against Sunday trading
Sunday shopping
Sunday shopping refers to the ability of retailers to operate stores on Sunday, a day that Christian tradition typically recognizes as the Sabbath, a "day of rest". Rules governing shopping hours, such as Sunday shopping, vary around the world but some European nations continue to ban Sunday shopping...

 and usury
Usury
Usury Originally, when the charging of interest was still banned by Christian churches, usury simply meant the charging of interest at any rate . In countries where the charging of interest became acceptable, the term came to be used for interest above the rate allowed by law...

 as "ancient examples" to the contrary. He added, "Some of these laws embody convictions or prejudices which judges are likely to share. Some may not. But a constitution is not intended to embody a particular economic theory."

Subsequent developments


The Supreme Court's due process jurisprudence over the next three decades was inconsistent, but it took a narrow view of state police powers in several major labor cases after Lochner. For example, in Coppage v. Kansas
Coppage v. Kansas
Coppage v. Kansas, 236 U.S. 1 , was a U.S. Supreme Court case that held that employers could make contracts that forbid employees from joining unions. These types of contracts were called yellow-dog contracts...

(1915), the Court struck down statutes forbidding "Yellow Dog contracts." Similarly, in Adkins v. Children's Hospital
Adkins v. Children's Hospital
Adkins v. Children's Hospital, , is a Supreme Court opinion holding that federal minimum wage legislation for women was an unconstitutional infringement of liberty of contract, as protected by the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment....

(1923), the Supreme Court held that minimum wage
Minimum wage
A minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers. Equivalently, it is the lowest wage at which workers may sell their labour. Although minimum wage laws are in effect in a great many jurisdictions, there are differences of opinion about...

 laws violated the due process clause (although Chief Justice William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States...

 strongly dissented, suggesting that the Court instead should have overruled Lochner). The doctrine of substantive due process was coupled with a narrow interpretation of congressional power under the commerce clause
Commerce Clause
The Commerce Clause is an enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution . The clause states that the United States Congress shall have power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." Courts and commentators have tended to...

. Justices James McReynolds
James Clark McReynolds
James Clark McReynolds was an American lawyer and judge who served as United States Attorney General under President Woodrow Wilson and as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court...

, George Sutherland
George Sutherland
Alexander George Sutherland was an English-born U.S. jurist and political figure. One of four appointments to the Supreme Court by President Warren G. Harding, he served as an Associate Justice of the U.S...

, Willis Van Devanter
Willis Van Devanter
Willis Van Devanter was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, January 3, 1911 to June 2, 1937.- Early life and career :...

, and Pierce Butler
Pierce Butler (justice)
Pierce Butler was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1923 until his death in 1939...

 emerged during the 1920s and 30s as the foremost defenders of traditional limitations on government power on the Supreme Court; they were collectively dubbed by partisans of the New Deal the "Four Horsemen of Reaction
Four Horsemen (Supreme Court)
The "Four Horsemen" was the nickname given by the press to four conservative members of the United States Supreme Court during the 1932–1937 terms, who opposed the New Deal agenda of President Franklin Roosevelt. They were Justices Pierce Butler, James Clark McReynolds, George Sutherland,...

" as a result.

In 1934 the Supreme Court decided Nebbia v. New York
Nebbia v. New York
Nebbia v. New York, 291 U.S. 502 , was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States determined whether the state of New York could regulate the price of milk for dairy farmers, dealers, and retailers....

stating that there is no constitutionally protected fundamental right to freedom of contract. In 1937, the Supreme Court decided West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish
West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish
West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, , was a decision by the United States Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of minimum wage legislation enacted by the State of Washington, overturning an earlier decision in Adkins v. Children's Hospital,...

, which expressly overruled Adkins and implicitly signaled the end of the Lochner era. The decision repudiated the idea that freedom of contract should be unrestricted

Coming at a time of mounting political pressure over the judiciary's stance toward the New Deal, the Court's shift is sometimes called “The switch in time that saved nine.”
The switch in time that saved nine
“The switch in time that saved nine” is the name given to what was perceived as the sudden jurisprudential shift by Associate Justice Owen J. Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish...



Although the Supreme Court did not explicitly overrule Lochner, it did agree to give more deference to the decisions of state legislatures. The Court sounded the death knell for economic substantive due process several years later in Williamson v. Lee Optical of Oklahoma (1955). In that case, a unanimous Supreme Court declared: "The day is gone when this Court uses the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to strike down state laws, regulatory of business and industrial conditions, because they may be unwise, improvident, or out of harmony with a particular school of thought."

In the post-Lochner era, the Supreme Court has applied a lower standard (rational basis test) in reviewing restrictions on economic liberty, but stricter standards in reviewing legislation impinging on personal liberties, especially privacy. A line of cases dating back to the 1923 opinion by Justice McReynolds in Meyer v. Nebraska
Meyer v. Nebraska
Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 , was a U.S. Supreme Court case that held that a 1919 Nebraska law restricting foreign-language education violated the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.-Context and legislation:...

(citing Lochner as establishing limits on the police power) has established a privacy right under substantive due process. More recently, in Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade, , was a controversial landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. The Court decided that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion,...

(1973), the Supreme Court held that a woman had a privacy right to determine whether or not to have an abortion. In 1992, Planned Parenthood v. Casey reaffirmed that right, though the Court no longer used the term "privacy" to describe it.

The Supreme Court's decision in Lochner v. New York has drawn the ire of some liberal and conservative legal scholars. For example, Robert Bork
Robert Bork
Robert Heron Bork is an American legal scholar who has advocated the judicial philosophy of originalism. Bork formerly served as Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit...

 called the decision an "abomination". Similarly, Attorney General Edwin Meese
Edwin Meese
Edwin "Ed" Meese, III is an attorney, law professor, and author who served in official capacities within the Ronald Reagan Gubernatorial Administration , the Reagan Presidential Transition Team , and the Reagan White House , eventually rising to hold the position of the 75th Attorney General of...

 said that the Supreme Court "ignored the limitations of the Constitution and blatantly usurped legislative authority." However, the decision has attracted defenders, including the libertarian
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

 Cato Institute
Cato Institute
The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remains president and CEO, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the largest privately held...

, and scholars Richard Epstein and Randy Barnett
Randy Barnett
Randy E. Barnett is a lawyer, a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches constitutional law and contracts, and a legal theorist in the United States...

 who argue that Lochner was correct in its protection of individual economic liberty.

See also


  • List of United States Supreme Court cases, volume 198
  • Slaughterhouse Cases
    Slaughterhouse Cases
    The Slaughter-House Cases, were the first United States Supreme Court interpretation of the relatively new Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution...

    ,
  • Munn v. Illinois
    Munn v. Illinois
    Munn v. Illinois, 94 U.S. 113 , was a United States Supreme Court case dealing with corporate rates and agriculture. The Munn case allowed states to regulate certain businesses within their borders, including railroads, and is commonly regarded as a milestone in the growth of federal government...

    ,
  • Mugler v. Kansas
    Mugler v. Kansas
    Mugler v. Kansas, , was an important United States Supreme Court case in which the 8 to 1 majority opinion of Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan—and the lone, partial dissent by Associate Justice Stephen J. Field—laid the foundation for the U.S...

    ,
  • Allgeyer v. Louisiana
    Allgeyer v. Louisiana
    Allgeyer v. Louisiana, , was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which a unanimous court struck down a Louisiana statute on grounds that it violated an individual's "liberty to contract." This was the first case in which the Supreme Court interpreted the word liberty in the Due Process...

    ,
  • Adkins v. Children's Hospital
    Adkins v. Children's Hospital
    Adkins v. Children's Hospital, , is a Supreme Court opinion holding that federal minimum wage legislation for women was an unconstitutional infringement of liberty of contract, as protected by the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment....

    , 261 U.S. 525 (1923) case about the minimum wage