Adkins v. Children's Hospital
ADKINS V. CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL
ADKINS V. CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, 261 U.S. 525 (1923), is a major precedent in the development of liberty of contract and substantive due process. In 1897, the United States Supreme Court held that the due process clauses of the Fourteenth and Fifth Amendments protect the rights of persons to enter into contracts (Allgeyer v. Louisiana). Lochner v. New York (1905) extended this to contracts of employment, and restricted the states' police powers to regulate hours of employment previously acknowledged in Holden v. Hardy (1898). But in Muller v. Oregon (1908), the court accepted state regulation of female employees' hours, and in Bunting v. Oregon (1917) it upheld state regulation of both hours and overtime wages, for both men and women. Knowledgeable observers concluded that Bunting had implicitly overruled Lochner.
Adkins nevertheless held a District of Columbia minimum-wage statute unconstitutional. In his first major opinion, Justice George Sutherland held that "freedom of contract is…the general rule and restraint the exception." Regulation of women's wages fit none of the hitherto recognized categories of permissible state regulation, and violated "the moral requirement implicit in every contract of employment" that wages reflect exactly the value of the worker's contribution. Sutherland stated that ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 put women and men on a footing of equality, thereby implicitly condemning Muller. He denounced the policy of minimum-wage laws for forcing employers to shoulder welfare responsibilities. In dissents, Chief Justice William Howard Taft and Oliver Wendell Holmes criticized the majority for substituting their policy preferences for the legislatures'. Holmes ridiculed the notion that the Nineteenth Amendment had eliminated differences between men and women, and questioned the idea of liberty of contract itself as a constraint on the police power.
Adkins inhibited regulation of women's hours and wages until it was overruled by West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379 (1937).
Powell, Thomas Reed. "The Judiciality of Minimum-Wage Legislation." Harvard Law Review 37 (1924): 545–573. A now classic contemporary condemnation of the decision.
"Adkins v. Children's Hospital." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 14, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/adkins-v-childrens-hospital
"Adkins v. Children's Hospital." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved July 14, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/adkins-v-childrens-hospital
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.