Connally v. General Const Co, No. 314

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSUTHERLAND
Citation46 S.Ct. 126,269 U.S. 385,70 L.Ed. 322
PartiesCONNALLY, Commissioner of Labor of Oklahoma, et al. v. GENERAL CONST. CO
Docket NumberNo. 314
Decision Date04 January 1926

269 U.S. 385
46 S.Ct. 126
70 L.Ed. 322
CONNALLY, Commissioner of Labor of Oklahoma, et al.

v.

GENERAL CONST. CO.

No. 314.
Argued Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 1925.
Decided Jan. 4, 1926.

Messrs. George F. Short, of Oklahoma City, Okl., and J. Berry King, of Muskogee, Okl., for appellants.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 385-387 intentionally omitted]

Page 388

Mr. J. D. Lydick, of Oklahoma City, Okl., for appellee.

Mr. Justice SUTHERLAND delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a suit to enjoin certain state and county officers of Oklahoma from enforcing the provisions of section 7255 and section 7257, Compiled Oklahoma Statutes 1921, challenged as unconstitutional. Section 7255 creates an eight-hour day for all persons employed by or on behalf of the state, etc., and provides:

'That not less than the current rate of per diem wages in the locality where the work is performed shall be paid to laborers, workmen, mechanics, prison guards, janitors in public institutions, or other persons so employed by or on behalf of the state, * * * and laborers, workmen, mechanics, or other persons employed by contractors or subcontractors in the execution of any contract or contracts with the state, * * * shall be deemed to be employed by or on behalf of the state. * * *'

For any violation of the section, a penalty is imposed by section 7257 of a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $500, or imprisonment for not less than three nor more than six months. Each day that the violation continues is declared to be a separate offense.

Page 389

The material averments of the bill, shortly stated, are to the following effect: The construction company, under contracts with the state, is engaged in constructing certain bridges within the state. In such work, it employs a number of laborers, workmen, and mechanics, with each of whom it has agreed as to the amount of wages to be paid upon the basis of an eight-hour day, and the amount so agreed upon is reasonable and commensurate with the services rendered and agreeable to the employee in each case.

The Commissioner of Labor complained that the rate of wages paid by the company to laborers was only $3.20 per day, whereas, he asserted, the current rate in the locality where the work was being done was $3.60, and gave notice that, unless advised of an intention immediately to comply with the law, action would be taken to enforce compliance. From the correspondence set forth in the bill, it appears that the commissioner based his complaint upon an investigation made by his representative concerning wages 'paid to laborers in the vicinity of Cleveland,' Okl., near which town one of the bridges was being constructed. This investigation disclosed the following list of employers with the daily rate of wages paid by each: City, $3.60 and $4; Johnson Refining Co., $3.60 and $4.05; Prairie Oil & Gas, $4; Gypsy Oil Co., $4; Gulf Pipe Line Co., $4; Brickyard, $3 and $4; I. Hansen, $3.60; General Construction Company, $3.20; Moore & Pitts Ice Company, $100 per month; cotton gins, $3.50 and $4; Mr. Pitts, $4; Prairie Pipe Line Company, $4; C. B. McCormack, $3; Harry McCoy, $3. The scale of wages paid by the construction company to its laborers was stated to be as follows: Six men at $3.20 per day, 7 men at $3.60, 4 men at $4.00, 2 men at $4.40, 4 men at $4.80, 1 man at $5.20, and 1 man at $6.50.

In determining the rate of wages to be paid by the company, the commissioner claimed to be acting under

Page 390

authority of a statute of Oklahoma, which imposes upon him the duty of carrying into effect all laws in relation to labor. In the territory surrounding the bridges being constructed by plaintiff, there is a variety of work performed by laborers, etc., the value of whose services depends upon the class and kind of labor performed and the efficiency of the workmen. Neither the wages paid nor the work performed are uniform. Wages have varied since plaintiff entered into its contracts for constructing the bridges and employing its men, and it is impossible to determine under the circumstances whether the sums paid by the plaintiff or the amount designated by the commissioner or either of them constitute the current per diem wage in the locality. Further averments are to the effect that the commissioner has threatened the company, and its officers, agents, and representatives, with criminal prosecutions under the foregoing statutory provisions, and, unless restrained, the county attorneys for various counties named will institute such prosecutions; and that, under section 7257, providing that each day's failure to pay current wages shall constitute a separate offense, maximum penalties may be inflicted aggregating many thousands of dollars in fines and many years of imprisonment.

The constitutional grounds of attack, among others, are that the statutory provisions, if enforced, will deprive plaintiff, its officers, agents and representatives, of their liberty and property without due process of law, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution; that they contain no ascertainable standard of guilt; that it cannot be determined with any degree of certainty what sum constitutes a current wage in any locality; and that the term 'locality' itself is fatally vague and uncertain. The bill is a long one, and, without further review, it is enough to say that, if the constitutional attack upon the statute be sustained, the averments justify the equitable relief prayed.

Page 391

Upon the bill and a motion to dismiss it, in the nature of a demurrer attacking its...

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2802 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Weitzenhoff, Nos. 92-10105
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • August 8, 1994
    ...Metals Assocs., Inc. v. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 620 F.2d 900, 907 (1st Cir.1980) (quoting Connally v. General Constr. Co., 269 U.S. 385, 391, 46 S.Ct. 126, 127, 70 L.Ed. 322 Pursuant to the preceding analysis of the permit's terms, which, as we have demonstrated, have meaning ......
  • Moncrieffe v. Holder, No. 11–702.
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • April 23, 2013
    ...a vague term. Due process requires that the elements of a criminal statute be defined with specificity. Connally v. General Constr. Co., 269 U.S. 385, 393, 46 S.Ct. 126, 70 L.Ed. 322 (1926). Accordingly, it is apparent that § 841(b)(4) does not modify the elements of § 841(a) but instead co......
  • Green Party of Tenn. v. Hargett, Case No. 3:11–0692.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Tennessee
    • February 3, 2012
    ...if persons of “common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application,” Connally v. Gen. Const. Co., 269 U.S. 385, 391, 46 S.Ct. 126, 70 L.Ed. 322 (1926), or fails to give “a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice” of conformity with the statute's re......
  • Fowler v. Board of Educ. of Lincoln County, Ky., Nos. 85-5815
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • July 21, 1987
    ...men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application." Connally v. General Construction Co., 269 U.S. 385, 391, 46 S.Ct. 126, 127, 70 L.Ed. 322 In the context of statutory provisions governing employee discipline, the Supreme Court has recognized......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2802 cases
  • U.S. v. Weitzenhoff, Nos. 92-10105
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • August 8, 1994
    ...Metals Assocs., Inc. v. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 620 F.2d 900, 907 (1st Cir.1980) (quoting Connally v. General Constr. Co., 269 U.S. 385, 391, 46 S.Ct. 126, 127, 70 L.Ed. 322 Pursuant to the preceding analysis of the permit's terms, which, as we have demonstrated, have meaning ......
  • Moncrieffe v. Holder, No. 11–702.
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • April 23, 2013
    ...a vague term. Due process requires that the elements of a criminal statute be defined with specificity. Connally v. General Constr. Co., 269 U.S. 385, 393, 46 S.Ct. 126, 70 L.Ed. 322 (1926). Accordingly, it is apparent that § 841(b)(4) does not modify the elements of § 841(a) but instead co......
  • Green Party of Tenn. v. Hargett, Case No. 3:11–0692.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Tennessee
    • February 3, 2012
    ...if persons of “common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application,” Connally v. Gen. Const. Co., 269 U.S. 385, 391, 46 S.Ct. 126, 70 L.Ed. 322 (1926), or fails to give “a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice” of conformity with the statute's re......
  • Fowler v. Board of Educ. of Lincoln County, Ky., Nos. 85-5815
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • July 21, 1987
    ...men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application." Connally v. General Construction Co., 269 U.S. 385, 391, 46 S.Ct. 126, 127, 70 L.Ed. 322 In the context of statutory provisions governing employee discipline, the Supreme Court has recognized......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Recovering the Moral Economy Foundations of the Sherman Act.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 131 Nbr. 1, October 2021
    • October 1, 2021
    ...and certain objective standard--one sufficient to satisfy the requirements of due process." (referencing Connally v. Gen. Constr. Co., 269 U.S. 385 (1926) and Cline v. Frink Dairy Co., 274 U.S. 445 (271.) See, e.g., Arthur, supra note 23, at 306 (arguing Chicago Board of Trade produced a st......

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