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459Muller+v.+Oregon (1) - 208 U.S 412 Muller v Oregon ERROR...

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208 U.S. 412 Muller v. Oregon ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF OREGON No. 107 Argued: January 15, 1908 --- Decided: February 24, 1908 MR. JUSTICE BREWER delivered the opinion of the court: On February 19, 1903, the legislature of the State of Oregon passed an act (Session Laws 1903, p. 148) the first section of which is in these words: SEC. 1. That no female [shall] be employed in any mechanical establishment, or factory, or laundry in this State more than ten hours during any one day. The hours of work may be so arranged as to permit the employment of females [p417] at any time so that they shall not work more than ten hours during the twenty-four hours of any one day. Sec. 3 made a violation of the provisions of the prior sections a misdemeanor subject to a fine of not less than $10 nor more than $25. On September 18, 1905, an information was filed in the circuit court of the State for the County of Multnomah, charging that the defendant on the 4th day of September, A.D. 1905, in the county of Multnomah and State of Oregon, then and there being the owner of a laundry, known as the Grand Laundry, in the city of Portland, and the employer of females therein, did then and there unlawfully permit and suffer one Joe Haselbock, he, the said Joe Haselbock, then and there being an overseer, superintendent, and agent of said Curt Muller, in the said Grand Laundry, to require a female, to-wit, one Mrs. E. Gotcher, to work more than ten hours in said laundry on said 4th day of September, A.D. 1905, contrary to the statutes in such cases made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the State of Oregon. A trial resulted in a verdict against the defendant, who was sentenced to pay a fine of $10. The Supreme Court of the State affirmed the conviction, State v. Muller, 48 Oregon 252, whereupon the case was brought here on writ of error. The single question is the constitutionality of the statute under which the defendant was convicted so far as it affects the work of a female in a laundry. That it does not conflict with any provisions of the state constitution is settled by the decision of the Supreme Court of the State. The contentions of the defendant, now plaintiff in error, are thus stated in his brief: (1) Because the statute attempts to prevent persons sui juris from making their own contracts, and thus violates the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment , as follows: No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. [p418] (2) Because the statute does not apply equally to all persons similarly situated, and is class legislation.
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