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have unbounded power,
power, and it would those who are engaged in that occupation. be enough to say that any piece of Clean and wholesome bread does not depend legislation was enacted to conserve the upon whether the baker works but ten hours morals, the health, or the safety of the per day or only sixty hours a week. The people; such legislation would be valid, no limitation of the hours of labor does not matter how absolutely without foundation come within the police power on that the claim might be. The claim of the police ground. power would be a mere pretext,-become It is a question of which of two powers another and delusive name for the supreme or rights shall prevail,—the power of the sovereignty of the state to be exercised free state to legislate or the right of the indifrom constitutional restraint. This is not vidual to liberty of person and freedom of contended for. In every case that comes be-contract. The mere assertion that the subfore this court, therefore, where legislation ject relates, though but in a remote degree, of this character is concerned, and where to the public health, does not necessarily the protection of the Federal Constitution render the enactment valid. The act must is sought, the question necessarily arises : have a more direct relation, as a means to Is this a fair, reasonable, and appropriate an end, and the end itself must be apexercise of the police power of the state, or propriate and legitimate, before an act can is it an unreasonable, unnecessary, and arbi- be held to be valid which interferes with trary interference with the right of the the general right of an individual to be individual to his personal liberty, or to free in his person and in his power to conenter into those contracts in relation to tract in relation to his own labor. labor which may seem to him appropriate This case has caused much diversity of or necessary for the support of himself and opinion in the state courts. In the supreme his family? Of course the liberty of con- court two of the five judges composing the tract relating to labor includes both parties court dissented from the judgment affirmto it. The one has as much right to pur- ing the validity of the act. In the court of chase as the other to sell labor.
appeals three of the seven judges also disThis is not a question of substituting the sented from the judgment upholding the judgment of the court for that of the legis- statute. Although found in what is called lature. If the act be within the power of a labor law of the state, the court of apthe state it is valid, although the judgment peals has upheld the act as one relating to of the court might be totally opposed to the the public health,-in other words, as a enactment of such a law. But the question health law. One of the judges of the court would still remain: Is it within the police of appeals, in upholding the law, stated power of the state ? and that question must that, in his opinion, the regulation in quesbe answered by the court.
tion could not be sustained unless they were The question whether this act is valid as able to say, from common knowledge, that
, a labor law, pure, and simple, may be dis- working in a bakery and candy factory was missed in a few words. There is no reason
unhealthy employment. The judge able ground for interfering with the liberty held that, while the evidence was not uniof person or the right of free contract, by form, it still led him to the conclusion that determining the hours of labor, in the occu
the occupation of a baker or confectioner pation of a baker. There is no contention
was unhealthy and tended to result in disthat bakers as a class are not equal in in- eases of the respiratory organs. Three of telligence and capacity to men in other the judges dissented from that view, and trades or manual occupations, or that they not to such an extent unhealthy as to war
they thought the occupation of a baker was
. are not able to assert their rights and care
rant the interference of the legislature with for themselves without the protecting arm
the liberty of the individual. of the state, interfering with their inde
We think the limit of the police power pendence of judgment and of action. They has been reached and passed in this case. are in no sense wards of the state. Viewed There is, in our judgment, no reasonable in the light of a purely labor law, with no
foundation for holding this to be necessary reference whatever to the question of health, or appropriate as a health law to safeguard we think that a law like the one before us the public health, or the health of the indiinvolves neither the safety, the morals, norviduals who are following the trade of a the welfare, of the public, and that the baker. If this statute be valid, and if, interest of the public is not in the slightest therefore, a proper case is made out in degree affected by such an act. The law which to deny the right of an individual, must be upheld, if at all, as a law pertain- sui juris, as employer or employee, to ing to the health of the individual engaged make contracts for the labor of the latter in the occupation of a baker. It does not
It does not under the protection of the provisions of affect any other portion of the public than the Federal Constitution, there would seem
to be no length to which legislation of this ployees. Upon the assumption of the validnature might not go. The case differs wide- ity of this act under review, it is not possi. ly, as we have already stated, from the ex- ble to say that an act, prohibiting lawyers' or pressions of this court in regard to laws of bank clerks, or others, from contracting to this nature, as stated in Holden v. Hardy, labor for their employers more than eight 169 U. S. 366, 42 L. ed. 780, 18 Sup. Ct. Rep. hours a day would be invalid. It might be 383, and Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. said that it is unhealthy to work more than S. 11, 25 Sup. Ct. Rep. 358, 49 L. ed. - that number of hours in an apartment
We think that there can be no fair doubt lighted by artificial light during the work. that the trade of a baker, in and of itself, ing hours of the day; that the occupation of is not an unhealthy one to that degree the bank clerk, the lawyer's clerk, the realwhich would authorize the legislature to estate clerk, or the broker's clerk, in such interfere with the right to labor, and with offices is therefore unhealthy, and the legisthe right of free contract on the part of the lature, in its paternal wisdom, must, thereindividual, either as employer or employee. fore, have the right to legislate on the subIn looking through statistics regarding all ject of, and to limit, the hours for such trades and occupations, it may be true that labor; and, if it exercises that power, and the trade of a baker does not appear to be its validity be questioned, it is sufficient to as healthy as some other trades, and is also say, it has reference to the public health; vastly more healthy than still others. To it has reference to the health of the emthe common understanding the trade of a ployees condemned to labor day after day baker has never been regarded as an un- in buildings where the sun never shines; it healthy one. Very likely physicians would is a health law, and therefore it is valid, not recommend the exercise of that or of and cannot be questioned by the courts. any other trade as a remedy for ill health. It is also urged, pursuing the same line Some occupations are more healthy than of argument, that it is to the interest of the others, but we think there are none which state that its population should be strong might not come under the power of the and robust, and therefore any legislation legislature to supervise and control the which may be said to tend to make people hours of working therein, if the mere fact healthy must be valid as health laws, enactthat the occupation is not absolutely and ed under the police power. If this be a perfectly healthy is to confer that right valid argument and a justification for this upon the legislative department of the kind of legislation, it follows that the progovernment. It might be safely affirmed tection of the Federal Constitution from that almost all occupations more or less af- undue interference with liberty of person fect the health. There must be more than and freedom of contract is visionary, wherthe mere fact of the possible existence of ever the law is sought to be justified as a some small amount of unhealthiness to war- valid exercise of the police power. Scarcely rant legislative interference with liberty. any law but might find shelter under Such It is unfortunately true that labor, even in assumptions, and conduct, properly so any department, may possibly carry with called, as well as contract, would come it the seeds of unhealthiness. But are we under the restrictive sway of the legislature. all, on that account, at the mercy of legis- Not only the hours of employees, but the lative majorities? A printer, a tinsmith, a hours of employers, could be regulated, and locksmith, a carpenter, a cabinetmaker, a doctors, lawyers, scientists, all professional dry goods clerk, a bank's, a lawyer's, or amen, as well as athletes and artisans, could physician's clerk, or a clerk in almost any be forbidden to fatigue their brains and kind of business, would all come under the bodies by prolonged hours of exercise, lest power of the legislature, on this assumption. the fighting strength of the state be imNo trade, no occupation, no mode of earn- paired. We mention these extreme cases ing one's living, could escape this all-per- because the contention is extreme. We do vading power, and the acts of the legis not believe in the soundness of the views lature in limiting the hours of labor which uphold this law. On the contrary, in all employments would be valid, we think that such a law as this, although although such limitation might serious passed in the assumed exercise of the police ly cripple the ability of the laborer power, and as relating to the public health,
, to support himself and his family. In our or the health of the employees named, is large cities there are many buildings into not within that power, and is invalid. The which the sun penetrates for but a short act is not, within any fair meaning of the time in each day, and these buildings are term, a health law, but is an illegal interuccupied by people carrying on the business ference with the rights of individuals, both of bankers, brokers, lawyers, real estate, employers and employees, to make contracts and many other kinds of business, aided by regarding labor upon such terms as they many clerks, messengers, and other em-'may think best, or which they may agree upon with the other parties to such con- the reasoning to be sufficient to justify the tracts. Statutes of the nature of that under claimed right of such interference. The review, limiting the hours in which grown state in that case would assume the position and intelligent men may labor to earn their of a supervisor, or pater familias, over living, are mere meddlesome interferences every act of the individual, and its right of with the rights of the individual, and they governmental interference with his hours are not saved from condemnation by the of labor, his hours of exercise, the character claim that they are passed in the exercise thereof, and the extent to which it shall be of the police power and upon the subject of carried would be recognized and upheld. In the health of the individual whose rights our judgment it is not possible in fact to are interfered with, unless there be some discover the connection between the number fair ground, reasonable in and of itself, to of hours a baker may work in the bakery say that there is material danger to the and the healthful quality of the bread made public health, or to the health of the em- by the workman. The connection, if any ployees, if the hours of labor are not cur- exist, is too shadowy and thin to build any tailed. If this be not clearly the case, the argument for the interference of the legisindividuals whose rights are thus made the lature. If the man works ten hours a day
. subject of legislative interference are under it is all right, but if ten and a half or eleven the protection of the Federal Constitution his health is in danger and his bread may regarding their liberty of contract as well be unhealthy, and, therefore, he shall not as of person; and the legislature of the be permitted to do it. This, we think, is state has no power to limit their right as unreasonable and entirely arbitrary. When proposed in this statute. All that it could assertions such as we have adverted to beproperly do has been done by it with regard come necessary in order to give, if possible, to the conduct of bakeries, as provided for a plausible foundation for the contention in the other sections of the act, above set that the law is a "health law,” it gives rise
, forth. These several sections provide for to at least a suspicion that there was some the inspection of the premises where the other
other motive dominating the legislature bakery is carried on, with regard to fur- than the purpose to subserve the public nishing proper wash rooms and water health or welfare. closets, apart from the bake room, also with
This interference on the part of the legisregard to providing proper drainage, plumb- latures of the several states with the ordi- . ing, and painting; the sections, in addition, nary trades and occupations of the people provide for the height of the ceiling, the seems to be on the increase. . In the cementing or tiling of floors, where neces
preme court of New York, in the case of sary in the opinion of the factory inspector, People v. Beattie, appellate division, first and for other things of that nature; altera- department, decided in 1904 (96 App. Div. made where necessary in the opinion of the 383, 89 N. Y. Supp. 193), a statute reguinspector, in order to comply with the pro-ing the person practising such trade to be
lating the trade of horseshoeing, and requirvisions of the statute. These various sec
. tions may be wise and valid regulations, examined, and to obtain a certificate from and they certainly go to the full extent of a board of examiners and file the same with providing for the cleanliness and the and the the clerk of the county wherein the person
, healthiness, so far as possible, of the quar- proposes to practise such trade, was held ters in which bakeries are to be conducted. invalid, as an arbitrary interference with Adding to all these requirements a prohi- personal liberty and private property withbition to enter into any contract of labor in out due process of law. The attempt was a bakery for more than a certain number made, unsuccessfully, to justify it as a
health law. of hours a week is, in our judgment, so wholly beside the matter of a proper,
The same kind of a statute was held inreasonable, and fair provision as to run valid (Re Aubry) by the supreme court of
78 Pac. counter to that liberty of person and of free Washington in December, 1904. contract provided for in the Federal Consti- 900.
The court held that the act deprived tution.
citizens of their liberty and property withIt was further urged on the argument out due process of law, and denied to them that restricting the hours of labor in the the equal protection of the laws. It also case of bakers was valid because it tended held that the trade of a horseshoer is not a to cleanliness on the part of the workers, as subject of regulation under the police power a man was more apt to be cleanly when not of the state, as a business concerning and overworked, and if cleanly then his “out- directly affecting the health, welfare, or put” was also more likely to be so. What comfort of its inhabitants; and that, therehas already been said applies with equal fore, a law which provided for the examinaforce to this contention. We do not admit'tion and registration of horseshoers in
25 S. 0.35.
certain cities was unconstitutional, as an | fining the same, cannot be prohibited or illegitimate exercise of the police power. interfered with, without violating the Feder
The supreme court of Illinois, in Bessette al Constitution. v. People, 193 Ill. 334,56 L.R.A. 558, 62 N. E. The judgment of the Court of Appeals of 215, also held that a law of the same nature, New York, as well as that of the Supreme providing for the regulation and licensing Court and of the County Court of Oneida of horseshoers, was unconstitutional as an County, must be reversed and the case reillegal interference with the liberty of the manded to the County Court for further individual in adopting and pursuing such proceedings not inconsistent with
with this calling as he may choose, subject only to opinion. the restraint necessary to secure the com- Reversed. mon welfare. See also Godcharles v. Wigeman, 113 Pa. 431, 437, 6 Atl. 354; Low v. Mr. Justice Holmes dissenting: Rees Printing Co. 41 Neb. 127, 145, 24 L. R. I regret sincerely that I am unable to A. 702, 43 Am. St. Rep. 670, 59 N. W. 362. agree with the judgment in this case, and In these cases the courts upheld the right of that I think it my duty to express my disfree contract and the right to purchase and sent. sell labor upon such terms as the parties This case is decided upon an economic may agree to.
theory which a large part of the country It is impossible for us to shut our eyes does not entertain. If it were a question to the fact that many of the laws of this whether I agreed with that theory, I should character, while passed under what is desire to study it further and long before
, claimed to be the police power for the making up my mind. But I do not conpurpose of protecting the public health or ceive that to be my duty, because I strongly welfare, are, in reality, passed from other believe that my agreement or disagreement motives. We are justified in saying so has nothing to do with the right of a mawhen, from the character of the law and the jority to embody their opinions in law. It subject upon which it legislates, it is ap- is settled by various decisions of this court parent that the public health or welfare that state constitutions and state laws may bears but the most remote relation to the regulate life in many ways which we as law. The purpose of a statute must be de- legislators might think as injudicious, or termined from the natural and legal effect if you like as tyrannical, as this, and which, of the language employed; and whether it equally with this, interfere with the liberty is or is not repugnant to the Constitution to contract. Sunday laws and usury laws of the United States must be determined are ancient examples. A more modern one from the natural effect of such statutes is the prohibition of lotteries. The liberty when put into operation, and not from their of the citizen to do as he likes so long as he proclaimed purpose. Minnesota v. Barber, does not interfere with the liberty of others 136 U. S. 313, 34 L. ed. 455, 3 Inters. Com. to do the same, which has been a shibboleth Rep. 185, 10 Sup. Ct. Rep. 862; Brimmer v. for some well-known writers, is interfered Rebman, 138 U. S. 78, 34 L. ed. 862, 3 with by school laws, by the Postoffice, by Inters. Com. Rep. 485, 11 Sup. Ct. Rep. 213. every state or municipal institution which The court looks beyond the mere letter of takes his money for purposes thought desirthe law in such cases. Yick Wo v. Hopkins, able, whether he likes it or not. The 14th 118 U. S. 356, 30 L. ed. 220, 6 Sup. Ct. Rep. Amendment does not enact Mr. Herbert 1064.
Spencer's Social Statics. The other day we It is manifest to us that the limitation sustained the Massachusetts vaccination of the hours of labor as provided for in this law. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. section of the statute under which the in- 11, 25 Sup. Ct. Rep. 358, 49 L. ed. dictment was found, and the plaintiff in United States and state statutes and deerror convicted, has no such direct relation cisions cutting down the liberty to contract to, and no such substantial effect upon, the by way of combination are familiar to this health of the employee, as to justify us in court. Northern Securities Co. v. United regarding the section as really a health law. States, 193 U. S. 197, 48 L. ed. 679, 24 Sup. It seems to us that the real object and pur-Ct. Rep. 436. Two years ago we upheld the pose were simply to regulate the hours of prohibition of sales of stock on margins, or labor between the master and his employees for future delivery, in the Constitution of (all being men, sui juris), in a private California. Otis v. Parker, 187 U. S. 606, business, not dangerous in any degree to 47 L. ed. 323, 23 Sup. Ct. Rep. 168. The morals, or in any real and substantial de decision sustaining an eight-hour law for gree to the health of the employees. Under miners is still recent. Holden v. Hardy, such circumstances the freedom of master 169 U. S. 366, 42 L. ed. 780, 18 Sup. Ct. and employee to contract with each other in Rep. 383. Some of these laws embody relation to their employment, and in de convictions or prejudices which judges are
likely to share. Some may not. But a
Some may not. But a connection with that protection to life, , Constitution is not intended to embody a health, and property which each state owes particular economic theory, whether of to her citizens.” So in Barbier v. Connolly, paternalism and the organic relation of the 113 U. S. 27, 28 L. ed. 923, 5 Sup. Ct. Rep. citizen to the state or of laissez faire. It 357: "But neither the [14th] Amendment, is made for people of fundamentally differ-1-broad and comprehensive as it is,-nor ing views, and the accident of our finding any other amendment, was designed to certain opinions natural and familiar, or interfere with the power of the state, somenovel, and even shocking, ought not to con- times termed its police power, to prescribe clude our judgment upon the question regulations to promote the health, peace, whether statutes embodying them conflict morals, education, and good order of the with the Constitution of the United States. people.”
General propositions do not decide con- Speaking generally, the state, in the exercrete cases. The decision will depend on a cise of its powers, may not unduly interjudgment or intuition more subtle than fere with the right of the citizen to enter any articulate major premise. But I think into contracts that may be necessary and esthat the proposition just stated, if it is ac- sential in the enjoyment of the inherent cepted, will carry us far toward the end. rights belonging to everyone, among which Every opinion tends to become a law. I rights is the right “to be free in the enjoythink that the word "liberty," in the 14th ment of all his faculties, to be free to use Amendment, is perverted when it is held to them in all lawful ways, to live and work prevent the natural outcome of a dominant where he will, to earn his livelihood by any opinion, unless it can be said that a rational lawful calling, to pursue any livelihood or and fair man necessarily would admit that avocation.” This was declared in Allgeyer the statute proposed would infringe funda- v. Louisiana, 105 U. S. 578, 589, 41 L. ed. mental principles as they have been under 832, 835, 17 Sup. Ct. Rep. 427, 431. But stood by the traditions of our people and in the same case it was conceded that the our law. It does not need research to show right to contract in relation to persons and that no such sweeping condemnation can be property, or to do business, within a state, passed upon the statute before us. A may be "regulated, and sometimes prohibitreasonable man might think it a proper ed, when the contracts or business conflict measure on the score of health. Men whom with the policy of the state as contained in I certainly could not pronounce unreason its statutes." (p. 591, L. ed. p. 836, Sup. able would uphold it as a first instalment of Ct. Rep. p. 432.) a general regulation of the hours of work. So, as said in Holden v. Hardy, 169 U. S. Whether in the latter aspect it would be 366, 391, 42 L. ed. 780, 790, 18 Sup. Ct. open to the charge of inequality I think it Rep. 383, 388: “This right of contract, unnecessary to discuss.
however, is itself subject to certain limi
tations which the state may lawfully impose Mr. Justice Harlan (with whom Mr. in the exercise of its police powers. While Justice White and Mr. Justice Day con- this power is inherent in all governments, curred) dissenting :
it has doubtless been greatly expanded in While this court has not attempted to its application during the past century, mark the precise boundaries of what is owing to an enormous increase in the numcalled the police power of the state, the ber of occupations which are dangerous, or existence of the power has been uniformly so far detrimental, to the health of emrecognized, equally by the Federal and ployees as to demand special precautions for State courts.
their well-being and protection, or the All the cases agree that this power ex- safety of adjacent property. While this tends at least to the protection of the lives, court has held, notably in the cases Davidthe health, and the safety of the public son v. New Orleans, 96 U. S. 97, 24 L. ed. against the injurious exercise by any citizen | 016, and Yick Wo. v. Hopkins, 118 U. S. of his own rights.
376, 30 L. ed. 220, 6 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1064, In Patterson v. Kentucky, 97 U. S. 501, that the police power cannot be put forward 24 L. ed. 1115, after referring to the general as an excuse for oppressive and unjust principle that rights given by the Constitu- legislation, it may be lawfully resorted to tion cannot be impaired by state legislation for the purpose of preserving the public of any kind, this court said: "It [this health, safety, or morals, or the abatement court] has, nevertheless, with marked dis- of public nuisances; and a large discretion tinctness and uniformity, recognized the 'is necessarily vested in the legislature to necessity, growing out of the fundamental determine, not only what the interests of conditions of civil society, of upholding state the public require, but what measures are police regulations which were enacted in necessary for the protection of such intergood faith, and had appropriate and direct ests. Lawton v. Steele, 152 U. S. 133, 136,