Protective Labor Legislation, with Special Reference to Women in the State of New York

By Elizabeth Faulkner Baker | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
PROTECTIVE LABOR LEGISLATION IN THE UNITED STATES As REVIEWED BY THE COURTS

It is essential to an adequate analysis of protective labor legislation in New York State, that the attitudes of the courts, both, federal and in the several states, toward these laws be shown and that the growth, extent and trend of such legislation in the United States be indicated.

As acts of the legislature reflect our changing folkways, so also, if more reluctantly, do the decisions of the courts reflect such change. The task of the courts is two-fold, however, for while the legislatures need only act upon the progressive demands of' their respective constituents, the courts must consider not only the will of the legislatures, but they must weigh that will against the constitution written by "the fathers" which demands equal protection for fhe whole of the people. Thus, acts of legislatures and decisions of courts must be frequently at variance.

Moreover, diversity of opinion arises not only between legislatures and courts but among the individual members who compose these respective bodies. As bills are won or lost in a legislative struggle, so are laws affirmed or annulled in a conflict of judicial opinions. Some discussion of the, legislative battle will be made in a later chapter; at present it is pertinent to examine briefly into the cause of friction within the courts and between the courts and the legislature.

On July 28, 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution was adopted. Section One of this amend

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