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the act the court said: “They are utterly unconstitutional and void, inasmuch as by them an attempt has been made by the legislature to do what in this country cannot be done; that is, prevent persons who are sui juris from making their own contracts. The act is an infringement alike of the right of the employer and the employee. He may sell his labor for what he thinks best, whether money or goodę, just as his enployer may sell his iron or coal, and any and every law that proposes to prevent him from so doing is an infringement of his constitutional privileges, and consequently vicious and void.'
"In State v. Goodwill, 33 W. Va. 179, 25 Am. St. Rep. 863, a statute of that state prohibited persons engaged in mining and manufacturing from issuing orders in payment for labor except as such should be made payable in money. It made a violation of its provisions a misdemeanor. The constitution of that state declares that all men have certain inherent rights; that is to say, 'the enjoyment of life and liberty with the means of acquiring and possessing property and of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. The statute was held unconstitutional after a full consideration. Says the court: The right to use, buy, and sell property, and contract in respect thereto, including contracts for labor, which is, as we have seen, property, is protected by the constitution. The scope of the opinion is well summarized in the head note in these words: It is not competent for the legislature under the constitution to single out owners and operators of mines and manufacturers of every kind, and provide that they shall bear the burdens not imposed on other owners of property or employers of labor, and prohibit them from making contracts which it is competent for other owners of property or employers 141 of labor to make.' And this ruling was followed and approved in State v. Fire Creek Coal & Coke Co., 33 W. Va. 188; 25 Am. St. Rep. 891.
“The statute brought in question in Millett v. People, 117 Ill. 294, 57 Am. Rep. 869, required all coal produced in the state to be weighed on scales to be furnished by the mineowners, and subjected the mine-owner to fine or imprisonment for a failure to comply with its provisions. By another section it was provided that all contracts for the mining of coal in which the weighing of coal as provided for in this act shall be dispensed with, shall be null and void.' It was held that the mine-owners could not be compelled to make their contracts for mining coal so as to be regulated by weight; and that they could not be compelled to keep and use scales for such purposes, save when they saw fit to make contracts for mining on the basis of weight. The law was considered repugnant to the constitutional provision that 'no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law'; that to single out coal-mine owners and prohibit them from making contracts which it was competent for other employers of labor to make was not due process of law. And for like reasons the same court hold an act void which denied to persons and corporations engaged in mining and manufacturing the right to keep or be interested in a truck-store for furnishing supplies, etc. Frorer v. People, 141 Ill. 171."
The opinion above quoted from reversed the judgment of the second division of the same court reported in 20 S. W. Rep. 332, by which division it had been referred to the full bench for determination.
In State v. Sheriff of Ramsey County, 48 Minn. 236, 31 Am. St. Rep. 650, the supreme court of Minnesota filed an opinion on January 19, 1892, in which was used this language: "In Nichols v. Walter, 37 Minn, 264, it was held that the law was general and uniform in its operation which operates equally upon all the subjects 143 within the class for which the rule is adopted, but that the legislature cannot adopt an arbitrary classification, though it be made to operate equally upon each subject within the class; and the classification must be based on some reason suggested by such a difference in the situation and circumstances of the subjects placed in different classes as to disclose the necessity or propriety of different legislation in respect to them. In State v. Donaldson, 41 Minn. 74, a distinction or classification of dealers in medicines, based on the location of their places of business in respect to distance from drug-stores, was held reasonable and not a mere arbitrary distinction. In Johnson v. St. Paul etc. R. R. Co., 43 Minn. 224, this court, in dealing with chapter 13, Laws of 1887, defining the liability of railway companies to their employees, said, in substance, that not only must the statute treat alike, under the same conditions, all who are brought within it, but in its classifications it must bring within it all who are under the same conditions. Such law must embrace all and exclude none whose condition and wants render such legislation necessary or appropriate to them as a class': Randolph v. Wood, 49 N. J. L. 88. .... No arbitrary distinction between different kinds or classes of business can be sus. tained, the conditions being otherwise similar. The statute is leveled against nuisance occasioned by dense smoke, and it can make no practical difference in what business the own. ers or occupants of the buildings in which such smoke is produced are engaged, or whether the heat evolved from the combustion of the fuel producing such smoke is applied to the generation of steam or other useful purposes; or, further, whether steam power is used in manufacturing or is applied to other uses, as a grain-elevator or hoisting apparatus in a warehouse. We are obliged to hold that the distinction or classification attempted to be made is untenable."
There is perceived no reason why a resort to special legis. lation was necessary in respect to the subject matter 143 of the act with which we are now dealing. If we are correct in this assumption the language quoted is specially applicable to the provisions of the statute by which its benefits are withheld from domestic and farm laborers. These views are enunciated with somewhat more of confidence because they are in line with the reasoning of this court in Atchison etc. R. R. Co. v. Baty, 6 Neb. 37; 29 Am. Rep. 356.
2. The third section of article 1 of the constitution of this state provides that “no person shall be deprived of life, lib. erty, or property without due process of law." What is implied by the term “due process of law" is a question which has received discussion by this court. In Atchison etc. R. R. Co. v. Baty, 6 Neb. 37, 29 Am. Rep. 356, it was held, in the language of the first paragraph of the syllabus, that “legislative authority cannot reach the life, liberty, and property of the individual, except when he is convicted of crime, or when the sacrifice of his property is demanded by a just regard for the public welfare." In the discussion of the principles involved in the case, from which the above quotation of the first paragraph of the syllabus was taken, Gantt, J., delivering the opinion of this court, said: “The terms ' due process of law' and 'the law of the land '-one or the other of which is found in all constitutions of the states—are said to mean the same thing; and it is quite clear that they are indifferently used in constitutions for the same purpose. They are said to refer to a pre-existing rule of conduct, and designed to exclude arbitrary power from every branch of the govern. ment: State v. Doherty, 60 Me. 509; Norman v. Heist, 5 Watts & S. 171; 40 Am. Dec. 493; State v. Simons, 2 Spears, 767. Hence these terms do not mean merely a legislative enactment, for, “if they did, every restriction upon the legislative authority would be at once abrogated. For wbat more can a citizen suffer than to be taken, imprisoned, disseised of his freehold, liberties, and privileges; be outlawed, exiled, and destroyed; and be deprived of his property, his liberty, and 144 his life, without crime. Yet all this he may suffer, if an act of the assembly, simply denouncing these penalties upon particular persons, or a particular class of persons, be in itself the law of the land within the sense of the constitution': Hoke v. Henderson, 4 Dev. 1; 25 Am. Dec. 677. Webster interprets these terms to mean that every citizen shall hold life, liberty, property, and immunities under the protection of the general rules which govern society. Every thing which may pass under the form of an enactment is not, therefore, to be considered as the law of the land '; and, he says, 'if this were so, acts directly transferring one man's estate to another, legislative judgments, decrees, and forfeitures in every possible form would be the law of the land. There would be no general, permanent law for the courts to administer or even to live under. The administration of justice would be an empty form, an idle ceremony. Judges would sit to execute legislative judgments and decrees, and not to declare the law or administer the justice of the country': 5 Webster's Works, 487; State v. Doherty, 60 Me., 509; Holden v. James, 11 Mass. 404; 6 Am. Dec. 174; Lane v. Dorman, 3 Scam. 240, 241; 36 Am. Dec. 543; Commonwealth v. Bryne, 20 Gratt. 165; Bank of Columbia v. Okely, 4 Wheat. 243. It is, however, true that, subject to the qualified negative of the governor, the legislature possesses all the legislative power of the state; but, as it is said in Taylor v. Porter, 4 Hill, 144, 40 Ain. Dec. 274, 'under our system of government the legislature is not supreme. It is only one of the organs of absolute sovereignty which resides in the whole body of the people,' and, therefore, as the security of life, liberty, and property lay at the foundation of the civil com. pact, to say that the grant of legislative power included the right to attack private property would be equivalent to say. ing that the people had delegated to their servants the power of defeating one of the great ends for which government was established': Smith's Constitutional Law, 484. This one great end of government 145 is the protection of the absolute right of individuals—the life, liberty, and property of eack citizen of the state." In State v. Loomis, 115 Mo. 307, the term “due process of law” was discussed and applied to subjects kindred to those now under consideration. The court of appeals of Texas, in an opinion filed June 25, 1892, and found in San Antonio etc. Ry. Co. v. Wilson, 19 S. W. Rep. 910, cites with approval the case of the Alchison etc. R. R. Co. v. Baty, 6 Neb. 37; 29 Am. Rep. 356. Immediately following and enforcing their approval was a full review of the same subject as had been discussed by Judge Gantt, with a synopsis of the holdings of numerous courts with reference thereto. The length of this opinion forbids an extended quotation from the opinion to which reference has just been made, but its examination will be found to further illustrate and enforce the principles laid down in Atchison etc. R. R. Co. v. Baty, 6 Neb. 37; 29 Am. Rep. 356. The special practical application of the principles to which we have just referred refer to the alleged attempt to deprive parties of the right to contract as they see fit, and will, therefore, be treated under that head.
3. In Braceville Coal Co. v. People, there was filed October 26, 1893, by the supreme court of Illinois, an opinion, reported in 147 Ill. 66, 37 Am. St. Rep. 206, in which was the following language: “There can be no liberty protected by government that is not regulated by such laws as will preserve the right of each citizen to pursue his own advancement and happiness in his own way, subject only to the restraints necessary to secure the same right to all others. The fundamental principle upon which such liberty is based, in free and enlightened government, is equality under the law of the land. It has accordingly been everywhere held that liberty, as that term is used in the constitution, means not only freedom of the citizen from servitude and restraint, but is deemed to einbrace the right of every man to be free in the use of his powers and faculties, and to adopt and pursue such a vocation or calling as he may 146 choose, subject only to the restraints necessary to secure the common welfare: Frorer v. People, 141 Ill. 171; Commonwealth v. Perry, 155 Mass. 117; 31 Am. St. Rep. 533; People v. Gillson, 109 N. Y. 389; 4 Am. St. Rep. 465; Live Stock etc. Assn. v. Crescent City etc. Co., 1 Abb. U. S. 388; Slaughter House Cases, 16 Wall. 36; Godcharles v. Wigeman, 113 Pa. St. 431; State v. Goodwill, 33 W. Va. 179; 25 Am. St. Rep. 863. Property, in its broader