14 and 16 year old Ps were cotton mill employees in NC.
They filed suit to enjoin the enforcement of the act of Congress intended to prevent interstate commerce in the products of child labor.
SCOTUS held Congress's act unconstitutional.
Is labor a part of commerce?
Labor is not a part of commerce because the mere fact that the products being manufactured were intended for interstate commerce does not make their production subject to federal control under the commerce power.
Commerce only begins for a product when it is actually delivered to a common carrier for transportation or upon the actual commencement of its transfer to another state.
The act in its effect does not regulate transportation among the states but aims to standardize the ages at which children may be employed in mining and manufacturing within the states.
Because this deals with manufacture and not the transportation or sale of goods across state lines, it is not commerce as required by the Commerce Clause.
The production of articles, intended for interstate commerce is a matter of local regulation.
When the commerce begins is determined not by the character of the commodity, nor by the intention of the owner to transfer it to another state for sale, nor by the preparation of the article for transportation, but by its actual delivery to a common carrier for transportation, or the actual commencement of its transfer to another state.
There is no power vested in Congress to require the states to exercise their police power so as to prevent possible unfair competition.
The grant of authority over a purely federal matter was not intended to destroy the local power always existing and carefully reserved to the states in the 10th Amendment.
To sustain this statute would sanction an invasion by the federal power of the control of a matter purely local in its character, and over which no authority has been delegated to Congress in the Con.
It not only transcends the authority delegated to Congress over commerce but also exerts a power as to a purely local matter to which the federal authority does not extend.
If an act is within the powers specifically conferred upon Congress, it seems that it is not made any less constitutional because of the indirect effects that it may have, however obvious it may be that it will have those effects.
The statute confines itself to prohibiting the carriage of certain goods in interstate or foreign commerce, and the commerce clause gives Congress the power to do this in no uncertain terms.
The question then becomes whether this is unconstitutional, which many previous decisions of the Court have declared that it is not unconstitutional just because an act of Congress interferes with state domestic policy.
It is not for the Court to pronounce when regulations are bad public policy.
When states seek to send their products across state lines, they are no longer within their rights.