Lochner v. New York
I genuinely apologize for I am unable to agree with the ruling in this case, and that I believe, it my obligation to articulate my dissent. The universal right to create an agreement in relation to his company is part of the liberty secluded by the Fourteenth Amendment, and this comprises the right to purchase and sell labor, apart from when it is controlled by the State in the justifiable implementation by its police power (Larry and Jeff, 71).
The interests of both parties in relation to labor and liberty to contract are both taken care of. Thus, as much as an employee has the right to sell his labor so does the employer has the right to buy the same, in a mutually agreeable terms and conditions (Larry and Jeff, 71)
Deliberating through this case requires one to concentrate on some two fundamental questions which can help one to come up with a very important judgment. These questions are: one which of two powers or rights shall prevail? And two, is it the control of the State to legislate? Or is it the individual’s right to liberty and freedom of contract?
This case was ruled upon an economic theory which a large part of the country does not entertain. My divergent view is advanced by a range of decisions of this court that state constitution and state laws might control life in numerous ways which law makers might think as imprudent or oppressive as in this case, as well as interfere with the liberty to contract.
Section 110 of the labor law of the State of New York, provide that “…no employees shall be required or permitted to work in bakeries more than sixty hours in a week, or ten hours a day…” (Larry and Jeff, 71)
In my view this is an illegitimate exercise of the police power of the State. It is an irrational, redundant, subjective intrusion and interference with the right and freedom of a person to treaty, in relation to work. Therefore, it is in conflict with, the Federal Constitution besides, it is null and void.
There is no justifiable argument, on the score of health, for meddling with the autonomy of the individual or the right of open agreement, by influencing the hours of labor, in the profession of a baker. Neither can a law limiting such hours be acceptable as a health decree to protect the health, of the public or the health of the persons following that profession.
Those who concur with this ruling may want to suggest that if the baker works more hours then, the public health is in danger may have some sense but that does not overrule the fact that chances are still there for the baker to make the same mistake even in the very first hour of him reporting to work.
The task of explaining that this statute is despicable to the provisions of the Federal established law. Besides, the New York act under deliberation involves an implementation of the police power of the State; without a clear attempt to justify the applicability of police powers.
The New York act now before this court has no emergency clause in it, and, if it is legal, there are no situations and no urgent situations under which the least infringement of the provisions of the New York act would be innocent. Consequently, the court ruled using a New York act which in itself has serious flows.
I personally do not have problem with the various rulings that have been made pertaining this case, but my major concern is the New York act that we put in place and actually which was ostensibly used to make the ruling.
The act ought to have been more inclusive in terms of protecting the rights of each and every individual. Besides, laws should have checks and balances besides the due process of the act need to have been observed as well as the law of natural justice.
Considering the fact that the employee might have required to work more hours to earn extra coin, then this New York act could have infringed in his right to contracting as well as the right of the employer to contract.
I think the limits of police powers have been exceeded in this case. Supporting this argument by looking at each working environment there is at least certain risks, however small, that are involved. In other words, there is no environment, what so ever, that is risk free.
Nonetheless, logically reasoning, there are some working environments that warrant police powers. Looking at this case; the situation here does not necessitate the application of the police powers. This is because the health concerns in this case does not hold any ground. Thus, I do not agree that the statute in focus qualifies to be purported and qualify to be health law.
Philosophically, it may be true that the working conditions of a bakery may not be as healthy as other working condition. It can also be true that it can also possibly be healthier than others. The majority understanding holds that the working conditions of a baker have never been regarded as unhealthy. I believe that in this respect therefore, there are certain conditions that need to b enshrined in our legislation so that it become clearer what actually constitutes a health hazard and therefore requires enactment of certain statutes that protect public health.
There is need to be clear as to what factor overrides the other when faced with such cases where health issues and economics issues are matters of concern.
There should be concrete evidence of the potential existence of harmful risks other than some small amount of unhealthiness to call for legislative interference with individual’s liberty.
This is in an effort to make sure that not infringement of an individual right and liberty to contracting. Without these measures, then no profession or any occupation can be free from the jaw of authority and act of government.
Consequently the state, in pursuance of a robust and healthy nation, should put in place health legal frameworks that are valid and are passed by the police power. With this notion in mind therefore, one can say that in this case, the New York act is not, within any just connotation an expression of a health law, but is an unnecessary, illegitimate hindrance of the constitutional rights of individuals, both the employers and employees, to enter into labor agreement; which they feel or think is best for them.
Certainly, for every law there must be exceptions, but regarding this New York act, that was used to deliberate of the judgment, there is no such exception. Even further, the reasoning does not make sense because if the same act permits the baker to work ten hours meaning the baker should be exposed to the purported unhealthy condition for ten hours.
The same statute now wants to “protect” the baker from the unhealthy condition for, let’s say, an extra hour a day or six hours a week. There is no wisdom in this reasoning in this statute. Because the same law says okay, let the baker/public be exposed to unhealthy risks for sixty hours a week and be “protected” for six hour a week!
Simply mathematical or statistical analysis here will lead one to believe that the fact is the baker is exposed to the alleged unhealthy risk for longer hours than he is protected.
In conclusion, considering all these facts, a prevention to enter into any deal of labor in a bakery for more than a certain number of hours a week, is, in my ruling, so completely a matter which is not reasonable and unfair legislation. I thus, dissent.
Larry, May and Brown Jeff. Philosophy of law: classic and contemporary readings. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.