INFLUENCES BEARING UPON LEGISLATION FOR WOMEN IN NEW YORK STATE
ONE of the strongest influences that bears upon the enactment of labor laws is unquestionably that of the decisions of high courts regarding the constitutionality of such laws. We have already followed American judicial reasoning in these cases and have observed that precedent has been established for nearly all types of statutes for the protection of industrial workers. Nevertheless, it is also plain that, in labor cases such as we have examined, judicial benches are more often divided than united, that the views of judges conflict. While court decisions influence the enactment of further statutes, those decisions themselves are reflective of their environment, and the reflection is one of contending social forces. Inevitably some judges are more responsive to progressive currents, some to traditional, and the effects of the judicial conclusions to which they arrive are incalculable.
It is thus our further task to analyze the extra-judicial environment which has furnished stimuli for the enactment of protective measures. We shall, in so doing, confine our principal attention to New York State -- to the direct influences which have fostered special laws for women as they have been outlined in the preceding chapter. For, having established a working knowledge of the trend of legislation throughout the country, and more especially in New York, we are now in need of an analysis of sources.