327 U.S. 178 (1946), 57, Mabee v. White Plains Publishing Co.

Docket Nº:No. 57
Citation:327 U.S. 178, 66 S.Ct. 511, 90 L.Ed. 607
Party Name:Mabee v. White Plains Publishing Co.
Case Date:February 11, 1946
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 178

327 U.S. 178 (1946)

66 S.Ct. 511, 90 L.Ed. 607



White Plains Publishing Co.

No. 57

United States Supreme Court

Feb. 11, 1946

Argued December 5, 1945



1. The publisher of a daily newspaper with a circulation ranging from 9,000 to 11,000 copies, of which about one-half of one percent regularly goes out of the State, is engaged in the production of good for interstate commerce within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Pp. 180, 184.

(a) The maxim de minimis has no application here, because Congress made no distinction on the basis of volume of business, but, by § 15(a)(1) of the Act, outlawed the shipment in interstate commerce of "any goods in the production of which any employee was employed in violation of" the overtime and minimum wage requirements of the Act. P. 181.

(b) Though it be assumed that sporadic or occasional shipments of insubstantial amounts of goods were not intended to he included in that prohibition, there is no warrant for assuming that regular shipments are to be included or excluded dependent on their size. P. 181.

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(c) These views are borne out by the legislative history of the Act, by the express exemption by § 13(a)(8) of any employee of any weekly or semiweekly newspaper with a circulation of less than 3,000, the major part of which is within the county of publication, and by the lack of any exemption for daily newspapers or on the basis of volume of out-of-state circulation. P. 182.

2. The principles announced in Grosjean v. American Press Co., 297 U.S. 233, holding a state license tax on newspapers graduated in accordance with the volume of circulation unconstitutional, are not applicable here, notwithstanding the exemption of small weekly and semiweekly newspapers by § 13(a)(8) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. P. 184.

(a) The Act does not lay a direct burden on the press in violation of the First Amendment, since the press has no special immunity from laws applicable to business in general. P. 184.

(b) The exemption of small weeklies and semiweeklies is not a "deliberate and calculated device" to penalize a certain group of newspapers, but was inserted to put those papers more on a parity with other small town enterprises. P. 184.

(c) The Fifth Amendment does not require full and uniform exercise of the commerce power. Congress may weigh relative needs and restrict the application of a legislative policy to less than the entire field. P. 184.

3. The fact that the publisher of such a newspaper is engaged in the production of goods for interstate commerce does not necessarily mean that his employees are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, since that is dependent on the character of their work. Kirschbaum Co. v. Walling, 316 U.S. 517, 524; Walling v. Jacksonville Paper Co., 317 U.S. 564. P. 184.

4. No opinion is expressed on that phase of the case, since the state appellate courts did not pass on it. P. 185.

294 N.Y. 701, 60 N.E.2d 848, reversed.

Petitioners sued in the New York courts for overtime compensation under § 16(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The trial court overruled a motion to dismiss the complaint, 179 Misc. 832, 38 N.Y.S.2d 231, and gave judgment for petitioners. 180 Misc. 8, 41 N.Y.S.2d 534. The appellate division reversed. 267 A.D. 284, 45 N.Y.S.2d 479. The court of appeals affirmed. 293 N.Y. 781, 58 N.E.2d 520. It later amended the

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remittitur. 294 N.Y. 701, 60 N.E.2d 848. This Court granted certiorari. 325 U.S. 845. Reversed, p. 185.

DOUGLAS, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

Respondent publishes a daily newspaper at White Plains, New York. During the period relevant here, its daily circulation ranged from 9,000 to 11,000 copies. It had no desire for, and made no effort to secure, out-of-state circulation. Practically all of its circulation was local. But about one-half of 1 percent was regularly out-of-state.1 Petitioners are some of respondent's employees. They brought this suit in the New York courts to recover overtime compensation, liquidated damages, and counsel fees pursuant to § 16(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, 52 Stat. 1069, 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). The...

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