Lochner v New York

Lochner v New York - 1 Lochner v New York 198 U.S 45(1905...

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1 Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905) Lochner v. New York No. 292 Argued February 23, 24, 1905 Decided April 17, 1906 198 U.S. 45 ERROR TO THE COUNTY COURT OF ONEIDA COUNTY, STATE OF NEW YORK Syllabus Section 110 of the labor law of the State of New York, providing that no employes shall be required or permitted to work in bakeries more than sixty hours in a week, or ten hours a day…. The section of the statute under which the indictment was found is section 110, and is reproduced in the margin, * (together with the other sections of the labor law upon the subject of bakeries, being sections 111 to 115, both inclusive). The indictment averred that the defendant "wrongfully and unlawfully required and permitted an employee working for him in his biscuit, bread and cake bakery and confectionery establishment, at the city of Utica, in this county, to work more than sixty hours in one week"… MR. JUSTICE PECKHAM, after making the foregoing statement of the facts, delivered the opinion of the court. The statute necessarily interferes with the right of contract between the employer and employes concerning the number of hours in which the latter may labor in the bakery of the employer. The general right to make a contract in relation to his business is part of the liberty of the individual protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution. Under that provision, no State can deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law. The right to purchase or to sell labor is part of the liberty protected by this amendment unless there are circumstances which exclude the right. There are, however, certain powers, existing in the sovereignty of each State in the Union, somewhat vaguely termed police powers, the exact description and limitation of which have not been attempted by the courts. Those powers, broadly stated and without, at present, any attempt at a more specific limitation, relate to the safety, health, morals and general welfare of the public. Both property and liberty are held on such reasonable conditions as may be imposed by the governing power of the State in the exercise of those powers, and with such conditions the Fourteenth Amendment was not designed to interfere….
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2 It must, of course, be conceded that there is a limit to the valid exercise of the police power by the State. There is no dispute concerning this general proposition. Otherwise the Fourteenth Amendment would have no efficacy, and the legislatures of the States would have unbounded power, and it would be enough to say that any piece of legislation was enacted to conserve the morals, the health or the safety of the people; such legislation would be valid no matter how absolutely without foundation the claim might be. The claim of the police power would be a mere pretext -- become another and delusive name for the supreme sovereignty of the State to be exercised free from constitutional restraint. This is not contended for. In every case that comes
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Lochner v New York - 1 Lochner v New York 198 U.S 45(1905...

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