Case summary for Muller v. Fourth, too much time spent at work meant that a woman had less time to spend at home taking care of her family. The protection of workers through working hour limitations is typically seen positively, while the argument that women are separate and deserving of special treatment is viewed more negatively. While the general liberty to contract in regard to one's business and the sale of one's labor is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, that liberty is subject to proper restrictions under the police power of the State. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Despite the small penalty, Muller appealed the conviction. Oregon was a Supreme Court case decided on February 24, 1908.
Hanover College History Department, 2016. They believed that government had no right to abridge the rights of workers to negotiate issues related to working conditions, wages, and hours. Beatty by recognizing women not only as potential mothers but also as sharing legal status that was identical to that of their children. This bill established a ten-hour work day statute for women that worked in laundries and factories. Really interesting to watch the progression of labor laws, and the shift from pro-business to pro-labor. A group of laundry workers in Virginia around 1900 Many states instituted laws that specifically restricted women to working in specific environments or limited them to working fewer hours per day than male workers.
In writing its opinion, the Court noted that it had already ruled similar restrictions on male workers to be an unconstitutional violation of their rights. Curt Muller owned the Grand Laundry in Portland. The defense attorney, Louis D. The Muller decision also allowed government to exercise control over women in the workplace. They believed that women in the workplace represented a threat to racial progress in the United States. Using lawyers' briefs, arguments over single-sex protective laws, and other major court decisions, Nancy Woloch examines a moment in which constitutional history, women's history, and progressive politics converged.
He was charged with violating the law by allowing a woman at his laundry forced to work more than 10 hours in a given work day. The Court had suggested in previous court cases that it would support kinds of state laws with a direct link to health or safety. This led in turn to the exclusion of women from certain kinds of occupations and employment opportunities. With all of these responsibilities that women now had, perhaps the strain hit women because rarely had they been required to do so much. Supreme Court cases of the Progressive Era, upheld an Oregon law limiting the workday for female wage earners to ten hours. This push and pull relationship can best be observed in the 1908 Supreme Court case, Muller v. The heard the Lochner case in 1905.
Cases such as , A and all upheld the idea that it was unconstitutional for the government to interfere with work related issues. Consequently, the Illinois court case became not an affirmation for equal rights but a condemnation of poor legal phrasing. Procedural History On September 18, 1905 a complaint was filed at the State of Oregon Circuit Court against Curt Muller, owner of Grand Laundry. In fact, the belief that women were incapable of making decisions outside the domestic realm was the primary argument for restricting the right to vote to adult, generally white, men. The Brandeis Brief became the model for future Supreme Court presentations. Following them are extracts from similar reports discussing the general benefits of short hours from an economic aspect of the question. As said by Chief Justice Wolverton in First National Bank v.
The United States government detained and interrogated Hamdi in Afghanistan until they moved him to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Today, workers enjoy many protections in the form of minimum wages, overtime, and enforced break times, all of which came about after the Muller case. She was director of the National Consumer League and a founder of the National Women's Trade Union League. She was an activist for women and children who were in the workforce. Regardless of what the case is viewed as, a victory or a setback, it will live in history as one of the most influential cases determined by the Supreme Court to date. Settlement houses also promoted these reform agendas and tried to educate immigrants and rural women moving to the city about the evils of urban life.
Muller later appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court, and in 1908 date unknown the U. The statute of Oregon of 1903 providing that no female shall work in certain establishments more than ten hour a day is not unconstitutional so far as respects laundries. She was a social and labor reformer interested in preserving labor laws that protected women and children. D Dissertation, University of Oregon, 1982. Justia Annotations is a forum for attorneys to summarize, comment on, and analyze case law published on our site. Progressive Era Reform Many reformers in the late nineteenth century were influenced by the tenets of social Darwinism. Women are a special class of worker that needs to be protected.
They were abandoning the economic decline gripping rural parts of the country and economic upheaval overseas; moreover, they were drawn to the many financial opportunities the cities offered. Gilfry Chief Lawyers for Appellee H. Public policies have untidy origins, entangled histories and unforeseen consequences. They decided that there was no violation in the 10-hour limit on the work day for women, which effectively proved that Muller broke the law. Holden recognized the right of the government to dismiss the liberty of contract doctrine when the health of the workers was at risk.