Noxious Products Doctrine

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The first step in development of a national police power was the "noxious products doctrine," which Justice john marshall harlan propounded in champion v. ames (1903). According to this doctrine, Congress has the power to prohibit interstate commerce in any item that is so injurious to the public—in this case, lottery tickets—as to pollute the commerce of which it is a part. In hammer v. dagen-hart (1918), the doctrine became a limitation on the commerce power: because the products of child labor were not inherently more harmful than those of adult labor, Congress lacked power to forbid their interstate transportation. The doctrine was abandoned after united states v. darby lumber (1941).

Dennis J. Mahoney