FACTOID # 11: Oklahoma has the highest rate of women in State or Federal correctional facilities.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
   
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Lochner v. New York
Lochner v. New York

Supreme Court of the United States
Argued February 23 – 24, 1905
Decided April 7, 1905
Full case name: Joseph Lochner, Plaintiff in Error v. People of the State of New York
Citations: 198 U.S. 45; 25 S. Ct. 539; 49 L. Ed. 937; 1905 U.S. LEXIS 1153
Prior history: Defendant convicted, Oneida County Court, New York, 2-12-1902; affirmed, 76 N.Y.S. 396 (N.Y. App. Div. 1902); affirmed, 69 N.E. 373 (N.Y. 1904)
Subsequent history: None
Holding
New York's regulation of the working hours of bakers was not a justifiable restriction of the right to contract freely under the 14th Amendment's guarantee of liberty.
Court membership
Chief Justice: Melville Fuller
Associate Justices: John Marshall Harlan, David Josiah Brewer, Henry Billings Brown, Edward Douglass White, Rufus Wheeler Peckham, Joseph McKenna, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., William R. Day
Case opinions
Majority by: Peckham
Joined by: Fuller, Brewer, Brown, McKenna
Dissent by: Harlan
Joined by: White, Day
Dissent by: Holmes
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. XIV; 1897 N.Y. Laws art. 8, ch. 415, § 110

Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case that held that the "right to free contract" was implicit in the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The case involved a New York law that limited the number of hours a baker could work each week. By a 5-4 margin, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that the law was necessary to protect the health of bakers, calling it an "unreasonable, unnecessary and arbitrary interference with the right and liberty of the individual to contract." Justice Rufus Peckham wrote for the majority, while Justices John Marshall Harlan and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. filed dissents. Image File history File links Seal_of_the_United_States_Supreme_Court. ... The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the judicial branch of the United States federal government. ... Oneida County is a county located in the state of New York. ... The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court is the intermediate appellate court in the U.S. state of New York. ... The North Eastern Reporter and North Eastern Reporter Second are United States regional case law reporters containing published U.S. state appellate court case decisions for: Illinois Indiana Massachusetts New York Ohio When cited, the North Eastern Reporter and North Eastern Reporter Second are abbreviated N.E. and N.E... The Court of Appeals is New Yorks highest appellate court, created in 1847, replacing the Court for the Trial of Impeachments and the Correction of Errors. ... Melville Weston Fuller (February 11, 1833 – July 4, 1910) was the Chief Justice of the United States between 1888 and 1910. ... This is about the pre-World-War-I US Supreme Court justice; for his grandson, the mid-20th-century holder of the same position, see John Marshall Harlan II. John Marshall Harlan (June 1, 1833 – October 14, 1911) was an American Supreme Court associate justice. ... David Josiah Brewer (January 20, 1837-March 28, 1910), was an American jurist. ... Henry Billings Brown (born South Lee, Massachusetts March 2, 1836 - died Bronxville, New York September 4, 1913) was a Republican United States Supreme Court justice from January 5, 1891 to May 28, 1906. ... Edward Douglass White (November 3, 1845 – May 19, 1921), American politician and jurist, was a United States Senator, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and the ninth Chief Justice of the United States. ... This article is about the Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; for Justice Peckhams father of the same name who served in the U.S. House of Representatives, see Rufus Wheeler Peckham (1809-1873). ... Joseph McKenna (August 10, 1843–November 21, 1926) was an American politician who served in all three branches of the U.S. federal government, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, as U.S. Attorney General and as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. ... Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. ... Categories: People stubs | U.S. Supreme Court justices | Judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit | U.S. Secretaries of State | Spanish-American War people | American lawyers | 1849 births | 1923 deaths ... The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War amendments and it includes the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. ... // The United States Reports, the official reporter of the Supreme Court of the United States Case citation is the system used in common law countries such as the United States, England and Wales, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Australia and India to uniquely identify the location of past court... 1905 (MCMV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar). ... The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the judicial branch of the United States federal government. ... Due process of law is a legal concept that ensures the government will respect all of a persons legal rights instead of just some or most of those legal rights, when the government deprives a person of life, liberty, or property. ... The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War amendments and it includes the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. ... NY redirects here. ... A baker prepares fresh rolls A baker is someone who primarily bakes and sells bread. ... This article is about the Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; for Justice Peckhams father of the same name who served in the U.S. House of Representatives, see Rufus Wheeler Peckham (1809-1873). ... This is about the pre-World-War-I US Supreme Court justice; for his grandson, the mid-20th-century holder of the same position, see John Marshall Harlan II. John Marshall Harlan (June 1, 1833 – October 14, 1911) was an American Supreme Court associate justice. ... Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. ...


Lochner was one of the most controversial decisions in the Supreme Court's history, starting what is now known as the Lochner era. In the Lochner era, the Supreme Court invalidated scores of federal and state statutes designed to improve working conditions during the Progressive Era and jump-start the economy out of the Great Depression. A typical criticism of the decision is that the Court discarded sound constitutional interpretation in favor of personal ideology, favoring property over personal rights. This was reflected in Justice Holmes' dissent, in which he wrote that "[t]he Fourteenth Amendment does not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer's Social Statics." This was an alliterative reference to a book in which Spencer advocated a strict libertarian philosophy, similar to his later-defined Social Darwinist ideology. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher and prominent classic-liberal political theorist. ... Social Statics, or The Conditions essential to Happiness specified, and the First of them Developed is a 1851 book by the British economist Herbert Spencer. ... See also Libertarianism and Libertarian Party Libertarian,is a term for person who has made a conscious and principled commitment, evidenced by a statement or Pledge, to forswear violating others rights and usually living in voluntary communities: thus in law no longer subject to government supervision. ...


During the quarter-century that followed Lochner, the Supreme Court generally upheld economic regulations, but also issued several controversial 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 considered to have ended with West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish (1937), in which the Supreme Court took a much broader view of the government's power to regulate economic activities. Holding Washingtons minimum wage law for women was a valid regulation of the right to contract freely because of the states special interest in protecting their health and ability to support themselves. ... Year 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ...

Contents

Background of the case

In 1896, the New York Legislature unanimously enacted the Bakeshop Act, a law that 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, was fined $25 for overworking an employee. For a second offense in 1901, he drew a fine of $50 from the Oneida County Court. Year 1896 (MDCCCXCVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display calendar). ... The New York Legislature is the legislative branch of the U.S. state of New York, seated at the states capital, Albany. ... Year 1899 (MDCCCXCIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar). ... Utica, New York is a city in the State of New York and the county seat of Oneida County. ... 1901 (MCMI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ...


Lochner chose to appeal his second conviction. However, the conviction was upheld by the Appellate Department of the New York Supreme Court in a 3-2 vote. Lochner appealed again to the New York Court of Appeals, 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. The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court is the intermediate appellate court in the U.S. state of New York. ... The Court of Appeals is New Yorks highest appellate court, created in 1847, replacing the Court for the Trial of Impeachments and the Correction of Errors. ...


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 (1857), the Supreme Court established that the due process clause 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. Holding Africans residing in America, whether slaves or free, could not become United States citizens and the plaintiff therefore lacked the capacity to file a lawsuit. ... 1857 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... In United States law, adopted from English law, due process (more fully due process of law) is the principle that the government must normally respect all of a persons legal rights instead of just some or most of those legal rights when the government deprives a person of life...


The Supreme Court had accepted the argument that the due process clause protected the right to contract seven years earlier, in Allgeyer v. Louisiana (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 law setting an eight-hour work day for miners. In Holden, Justice Henry Brown 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. 1897 (MDCCCXCVII) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Holding Laws limiting working hours in mines and smelters are a legitimate, constitutional exercise of the state police power, given the inherent danger of such work. ... 1898 (MDCCCXCVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Official language(s) English Capital Salt Lake City Largest city Salt Lake City Area  Ranked 13th  - Total 84,876 sq mi (219,887 km²)  - Width 270 miles (435 km)  - Length 350 miles (565 km)  - % water 3. ... This article is about mineral extraction. ... Henry Billings Brown (born South Lee, Massachusetts March 2, 1836 - died Bronxville, New York September 4, 1913) was a Republican United States Supreme Court justice from January 5, 1891 to May 28, 1906. ...


Lochner's case was argued by Henry Weismann (who had ironically been one of the foremost advocates of the Bakeshop Act when he was Secretary of the Journeymen Bakers' Union). In his brief, 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." Brief redirects here. ...


The Court's decision

Justice Rufus Peckham delivered the opinion of the Court.
Justice Rufus Peckham delivered the opinion of the Court.

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. 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 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." public domain photograph of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Rufus Wheeler Peckham (1838-1909) The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States. ... This article is about the Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; for Justice Peckhams father of the same name who served in the U.S. House of Representatives, see Rufus Wheeler Peckham (1809-1873). ...


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." The New York State Attorney General is the chief legal officer of the State of New York. ...


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." 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 delivered a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices White and Day. Harlan contended that it was "plain that this statute was enacted in order to protect the physical wellbeing 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." This is about the pre-World-War-I US Supreme Court justice; for his grandson, the mid-20th-century holder of the same position, see John Marshall Harlan II. John Marshall Harlan (June 1, 1833 – October 14, 1911) was an American Supreme Court associate justice. ... Edward Douglass White (November 3, 1845 – May 19, 1921), American politician and jurist, was a United States Senator, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and the ninth Chief Justice of the United States. ... Categories: People stubs | U.S. Supreme Court justices | Judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit | U.S. Secretaries of State | Spanish-American War people | American lawyers | 1849 births | 1923 deaths ...


Holmes' dissent

Another dissenting opinion was penned by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.. Although only two paragraphs long, Holmes' dissent is well-remembered and often quoted. Holmes accused the majority of judicial activism, 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 and usury 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." Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. ... Judicial activism is the tendency of some judges to take a flexible view of their power of judicial interpretation, especially when such judges import subjective reasoning that displaces objective evaluation of applicable law. ... Sunday shopping refers to the ability of retailers to operate stores on Sundays, in countries where Christian tradition typically requires 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. ... Of Usury, from Brants Stultifera Navis (the Ship of Fools); woodcut attributed to Albrecht Dürer Usury (//, from the Medieval Latin usuria, interest or excessive interest, from Latin usura interest) was defined originally as charging a fee for the use of money. ...


Subsequent developments

Although not absolute in invalidating economic and labor regulations, the Supreme Court continued to take a narrow view of state police powers in the three decades that followed Lochner. For example, in Coppage v. Kansas (1915), the Court struck down statutes forbidding "Yellow Dog contracts." Similarly, in Adkins v. Children's Hospital (1923), the Supreme Court held that minimum wage laws violated the due process clause (although Chief Justice William Howard Taft 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. Justices James McReynolds, George Sutherland, Willis Van Devanter, and Pierce Butler 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" as a result. 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... A Yellow Dog contract is a legal contract or agreement made between an employer and an employee, wherein the employer agrees to employ the employee, and in exchange the employee agrees not to join or associate with a labor union. ... Holding Minimum wage law for women violated the due process right to contract freely. ... 1923 (MCMXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... The minimum wage is the minimum rate a worker can legally be paid (usually per hour) as opposed to wages that are determined by the forces of supply and demand in a free market. ... William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 – March 8, 1930) was an American politician, the 27th President of the United States, the 10th Chief Justice of the United States, a leader of the progressive conservative wing of the Republican Party in the early 20th century, a chaired professor at Yale Law... Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution, known as the Commerce Clause, empowers the United States Congress To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes. ... Justice McReynolds, c. ... George Sutherland (March 25, 1862 – July 18, 1942) was an English-born U.S. jurist and political figure. ... Willis Van Devanter (April 17, 1859 - February 8, 1941), associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, January 3, 1911 to June 2, 1937. ... Pierce Butler Pierce Butler (July 11, 1744 - February 15, 1822) was a soldier, planter, and statesman, recognized as one of United States Founding Fathers. ... This page is about four conservative Supreme Court justices and four contemporary Washington powerbrokers. ...


In 1937, the Supreme Court decided West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, signaling the end of the Lochner era. Although the Supreme Court did not completely 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." Year 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Holding Washingtons minimum wage law for women was a valid regulation of the right to contract freely because of the states special interest in protecting their health and ability to support themselves. ... 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


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 (citing Lochner as establishing limits on the police power) has established a privacy right under substantive due process. More recently, in Roe v. Wade (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. Holding The Court held that a 1919 Nebraska law prohibiting the teaching of modern foreign languages to grade school children unconstitutionally violated the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment. ... Holding Texas laws criminalizing abortion violated womens Fourteenth Amendment right to choose whether to continue a pregnancy. ... 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday. ... Holding A Pennsylvania law that required spousal notification prior to obtaining an abortion was invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment because it created an undue burden on married women seeking an abortion. ...


The Supreme Court's decision in Lochner v. New York has drawn the ire of most legal scholars, both liberal and conservative.[citation needed] For example, Robert Bork called the decision an "abomination". Similarly, Attorney General Edwin Meese 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 Cato Institute, and scholars Richard Epstein and Randy Barnett. Robert Bork Robert Heron Bork (born March 1, 1927 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a conservative American legal scholar who advocates the judicial philosophy of originalism. ... Edwin Meese III Edwin Ed Meese III (born December 2, 1931 in Oakland, California) served as the seventy-fifth Attorney General of the United States (1985-1988). ... See also Libertarianism and Libertarian Party Libertarian,is a term for person who has made a conscious and principled commitment, evidenced by a statement or Pledge, to forswear violating others rights and usually living in voluntary communities: thus in law no longer subject to government supervision. ... The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Institutes stated mission is to broaden the parameters of public policy debate to allow consideration of the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets, and peace by seeking greater involvement of the... Richard Epstein Richard A. Epstein, born in 1943, is currently the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. ... Randy E. Barnett is a lawyer, law professor at Boston University, and legal theorist in the United States, noted for his libertarian theory of law and his work on contract theory and constitutional law and theory. ...


References

  • Full text of Lochner v. New York.
  • Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905) (full text with links to cited Supreme Court opinions and sections of the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Code, and C.F.R.)
  • Bernstein, David E. (2005) Lochner v. New York: A Centennial Retrospective. Washington University Law Review
  • Hall, Kermit, et al. (1992). The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Kens, Paul. (1998). Lochner v. New York: Economic Regulation on Trial. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.
  • Warren, Charles. (1924). The Supreme Court in United States History. (3 volumes). Boston: Little, Brown and Co.
  • African Americans, Labor Regulations, and the Courts: From Reconstruction to the New Deal.' The Cato Institute. Mar. 7, 2001.

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m