David Yergey Hammer v. Dagenhart (The Child Labor Case), 247 U.S. 251, 38 S. Ct. 529, 62 L. Ed.

1101 (1918) RELEVANT FACTS: The Act of September 1, 1916 prohibits transportation in interstate commerce of goods made at a factory in which, within thirty days prior to their removal therefrom, children under the age of 14 years. Dagenhart worked in a cotton mill with his two sons. He brought the suit because he believed it was unconstitutional. Was the Act of September 1, 1916 unconstitutional?



Yes, because it exceeded the power granted to congress in the commerce clause. Congress was protruding into powers that were granted to the states.


Similar to sugar manufacturing case, Congress was not allowed to use its power to regulate actual manufacturing. It applied only to commerce. Bottom line is you have to demonstrate a harm after the shipment. If there is a harm prior to the shipment, Congress can t touch it. So plenary harm is constrained by this fact. Therefore, manufacturing, mining, and farming are locked into the states and Congress cannot use the power to regulate their manufacture


In our view the necessary effect of this act is, by means of a prohibition against the movement in interstate commerce of ordinary commercial commodities, to regulate the hours of labor of children in factories and mines within the states, a purely state authority. Holmes argued that Congress had the right to regulate it because it dealt with goods that were used in interstate commerce. This strictly fell within the Congress s right. He also states that goods that come from immoral means are just as bad as immoral goods. This reference applies to the previous lottery case.


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