The Supreme Court Had To Ultimately Determine Whether Or

1464 WordsMar 7, 20176 Pages
The Supreme Court had to ultimately determine whether or not the Bakeshop Act of 1895 violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause. After two days of oral arguments, the Supreme Court voted 5 to 4, in favor of Lochner. Hall and Patrick (2006) notes that Justice John Marshall Harlan was initially attached to writing the opinion of the court. However, Justice Harlan was unable to maintain a majority and, as a result, Justice Rufus Peckham wrote the majority opinion (70). Following the shift, the majority opinion of the Court found that the New York law was, in fact, unconstitutional for several reasons. Justice Peckham argued that the state’s use of police powers must be exercised “in a legitimate, fair, and reasonable way” (70).…show more content…
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., on the other hand, provided a dissenting opinion which argued that the Court should rule in favor of the state legislature. Justice Holmes agreed with the dissenting opinion of Justice Harlan, Justice White, and Justice Day. However, Justice Holmes argued that the Court must respect the will of the American people and, by ruling in Lochner’s favor, the Court was ignoring popular will (71). Justice Holmes also noted that “the Fourteenth Amendment had not enacted Mr. Herbert Spencer’s Social Statics,” (71) which had suggested that differences among social classes were inescapable and, as such, the law should perpetuate such differences as they were deemed “good” for society (71). The decision of Lochner v. New York (1905) was exceptionally controversial and the period following this court case would be infamously known as the Lochner era (72). The industrial growth brought forth rapid social and economic changes which prompted states, like New York, to mitigate its various consequences. The Court’s use of its judicial review, however, subsequently allowed for the Constitution to adopt a specific economic theory – an economic theory that would be used to strike down countless reform regulations on federal child labor laws, minimum wage laws, and regulations on various industries (72). Hall and Patrick (2006) state that the Lochner v. New York (1905)
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