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Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905) p.460


substantive due process


New York law prohibited the employment of bakery employees for more than 10 hours a day or 60 hours a week.


Whether this act is valid as a labor law.


The law here has no direct relation to and no such substantial effect upon the health of the employee as to justify us in regarding the section as really a health law.


This law interfers too much with the right of freedom of contract. There is no reasonable ground for interfering with the liberty of person or the right of free contract, by determining the hours of labor, in the occupation of a baker. Bakers are in no sense wards of the state. We think that a law like the one before us involves neither the safety, the morals, nor the welfare of the public, and that the interest of the public is not in the slightest degree affected by such an act. There is no reasonable foundation for holding this to be necessary or appropriate as a health law. The act must have a more direct relation, as a means to an end, and the end itself must be appropriate and legitimate, before an act can be held to be valid which interferes with the general right of an individual to be free in his person and in his pwoers to contract in relation to his own labor.


This case is often cited as a case that went to far. Writers will say that somethign is being "Lochnerized." This case is an example of a situation where the court stepped in to protect a fundemental right of the citizens: liberty of contract.

Created on: Monday, October 25, 1999 at 15:52:28 (PDT)

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