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
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
from making their own contracts,
and thus violates the provisions of the
, 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
(2) Because the statute does not apply equally to all persons similarly situated, and is class