In upholding the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Supreme Court departed from its precedents prohibiting governmental interference with freedom of contract and also rejected its earlier distinctions between commerce and manufacturing and between direct and indirect burdens on interstate commerce.
Writing for a 5-4 majority, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes
The Jones and Laughlin decision signaled that the majority of the justices were ready to accept New Deal legislation by using a broad interpretation of the commerce clause and a narrow defense of the freedom of contract doctrine. The Court further expanded the authority of Congress to regulate productive activities in United States v. Darby Lumber Co.
Commerce, regulation of
Contract, freedom of
Darby Lumber Co., United States v.
Due process, substantive
Wickard v. Filburn