Lochner Essay

1581 words - 7 pages

1. The legal question in Stone v. Mississippi (1880) is, Did Mississippi’s repeal of the Agricultural, Educational, and Manufacturing Aid Society of 1867 through the Mississippi State Constitution of 1868 violate the Contract Clause of the Federal Constitution?
2. The court in Lochner v. New York 198 U.S. 45 (1905) ruled a New York State law limiting the number of hours a baker could work, unconstitutional. The Court held, the “state had no reasonable ground for interfering with liberty by determining the hours of labor for individuals who are free to work at they choose.” Furthermore the, “freedom, or liberty to contract was a basic fundamental right protected by the liberty and property provisions of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment.” “There is no reasonable ground for interfering with liberty of person or the right of free contract, by determining the hours of labor, in the occupation of the baker.”
3. In West Coast Hotel v. Parrish 300 U.S. 379 (1937) The Court ruled that the Minimum Wages for Women Act did not violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because it was a valid exercise of the State of Washington’s police power. “The United States Constitution does not speak of freedom of contract. It speaks of liberty and prohibits the deprivation of liberty without due process of law. In prohibiting that deprivation the Constitution does not recognize an absolute and uncontrollable liberty. Liberty in each of its phases has its history and connotation. But the liberty safeguarded is liberty in a social organization which requires the protection of law against the evils which menace the health, safety, morals and welfare of the people. Liberty under the Constitution is thus necessarily subject to the restraints of due process, and regulation, which is reasonable in relation to its subject and is adopted in the interests of the community is due process.”
4. In Kelo v. City of New London 545 U.S. 469 (2005) The Court reasoned the taking of the Kelo home did constitute a taking for a public purpose because it was a part of a “carefully considered development plan.” This carefully considered development plan designed to benefit the community due to new jobs and increased tax revenue. The Court also acknowledged the Kelo home was not blighted, yet deferred to the city’s judgment on how to revive the economy of the community. Economic development falls under the category of public purposes.

II. In the early 19th and 20th Centuries the Constitution allowed businesses to escape economic regulations by the states through the Due process Clause of the 14th Amendment and the Contracts Clause. With the onset of the Great Depression in 1929, the Court slowly became more sympathetic to state economic regulations. The Switch in Time of 1937 ushered in a new era of economic substantive due process jurisprudence
The Court in Munn v. Illinois 94 U.S. 113 (1877) agreed that states have the power to regulate...

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