• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court, in this unpopular decision, overturned 1930’s minimum-wage legislation.

By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court struck down a 1930’s New York law that established minimum wages for women and children. Writing for the Court, Justice Pierce ButlerButler, Pierce;Morehead v. New York ex rel. Tipaldo[Morehead v. New York ex rel. Tipaldo] said the law violated the freedom of employees to contract for work established by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This was a terribly unpopular decision that drew heavy criticism from almost all newspapers in the country that commented on the case. Of more than three hundred editorials, only ten supported the Court. Even the Republican Party criticized the Court’s decision, which was overturned in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish[case]West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish[West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish] (1937). Justices Charles Evans Hughes, Harlan Fiske Stone, Louis D. Brandeis, and Benjamin N. Cardozo dissented.Minimum-wage lawsContract, freedom of;Morehead v. New York ex rel. Tipaldo[Morehead v. New York ex rel. Tipaldo]Minimum-wage laws

Justice Pierce Butler justified striking down a minimum wage law in Morehead by arguing that it violated the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause.

(Library of Congress)

Adkins v. Children’s Hospital

Contract, freedom of

Due process, substantive

Fourteenth Amendment

General welfare clause

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