• Last updated on November 11, 2022

An antilabor Supreme Court majority severely curtailed labor union activity by limiting the protections granted to these organizations by Congress.

Justice Mahlon PitneyPitney, Mahlon;Duplex Printing Co. v. Deering[Duplex Printing Co. v. Deering] wrote this 6-3 opinion for the Supreme Court ruling that the 1914 Clayton Act did not protect labor unions from conviction for illegal restraints of trade, such as secondary boycotts. Through passage of the act, Congress had attempted to stop antiunion judges from issuing injunctions against labor unions for using secondary boycotts as a part of collective bargaining efforts. However, antiunion sentiment was strong on the Court at the time, and it used antitrust legislation against the unions.Labor;Duplex Printing Co. v. Deering[Duplex Printing Co. v. Deering]

Justices Louis D. Brandeis, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and John H. Clarke dissented in Duplex Printing, arguing that the Court was ignoring a legitimate congressional power to enact legislation that stipulated that labor unions were not monopolies in the usual sense of the word. Duplex Printing was effective for more than a decade until the Great Depression dramatically changed public and legal opinion. The leading dissenters later saw their views become the law of the land. When Congress adopted prounion legislation such as the 1932 Norris-La Guardia Act, the New Deal era Court upheld exempting labor unions from antitrust legislation.

Antitrust law

Labor

New Deal

Separation of powers

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