Is a minimum wage law within the police power of the state?
A minimum wage law is within the police power of the state.
This case should receive fresh consideration in light of the closeness on which previous cases were decided, the abundance of such laws, and the current economic conditions (Depression).
The Constitution does not speak of freedom of contract.
It speaks of liberty and prohibits the deprivation of liberty without due process of law.
The liberty safeguarded is liberty in a social organization which requires the protection of law against the evils which menace the health, morals, and welfare of the people.
Liberty under the Constitution is thus necessarily subject to the restraints of due process, and regulation which is reasonable in relation to its subject and is adopted in the interests of the community is due process.
The protection of women is a legitimate end, and the requirement that they be paid a minimum wage is a valid means to meet the end.
The legislature has necessarily a wide field of discretion in order that there may be suitable protection of health and safety.
The exploitation of a class of workers who have unequal bargaining power is detrimental to the workers and to society as a whole.
What these workers lose in wages the taxpayers are called upon to pay.
The community is not bound to provide what is in effect a subsidy for unconscionable employers.