Holden v. Hardy, Nos. 261 and 264

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBROWN
Citation18 S.Ct. 383,169 U.S. 366,42 L.Ed. 780
PartiesHOLDEN v. HARDY, Sheriff
Docket NumberNos. 261 and 264
Decision Date28 February 1898

169 U.S. 366
18 S.Ct. 383
42 L.Ed. 780
HOLDEN

v.

HARDY, Sheriff.

Nos. 261 and 264.
February 28, 1898.

These were writs of error to review two judgments of the supreme court of the state of Utah denying applications of the plaintiff in error, Holden, for his discharge upon two writs of habeas corpus, and remanding him to the custody of the sheriff of Salt Lake county.

The facts in case No. 264 were substantially as follows: On June 20, 1896, complaint was made to a justice of the peace of

Page 367

Salt Lake City that the petitioner, Holden, had unlawfully employed 'one John Anderson to work and labor as a miner in the underground workings of the Old Jordan Mine, in Bingham canon, in the county aforesaid, for the period of ten hours each day; and said defendant, on the date aforesaid and continuously since said time, has unlawfully required said John Anderson, under and by virtue of said employment, to work and labor in the underground workings of the mine aforesaid for the period of ten hours each day, and that said employment was not in case of an emergency, or where life or property was in imminent danger,—contrary,' etc.

Defendant, Holden, having been arrested upon a warrant issued upon said complaint, admitted the facts set forth therein, but said he was not guilty, because he is a native-born citizen of the United States, residing in the state of Utah; that the said John Anderson voluntarily engaged his services for the hours per day alleged; and, that the facts charged did not constitute a crime, because the act of the state of Utah which creates and defines the supposed offense is repugnant to the constitution of the United States in these respects:

'It deprives the defendant and all employers and employees of the right to make contracts in a lawful was, and for lawful purposes.

'It is class legislation, and not equal or uniform in its provisions.

'It deprives the defendant and employers and employees of the equal protection of the laws, abridges the privileges and immunities of the defendant as a citizen of the United States, and deprives him of his property and liberty without due process of law.'

The court, having heard the evidence, found the defendant guilty as charged in the complaint, imposed a fine of $50 and costs, and ordered that the defendant be imprisoned in the county jail for a term of 57 days, or until such fine and costs be paid.

Thereupon petitioner sued out a writ of habeas corpus from the supreme court of the state; annexing a copy of the proceedings before the justice of the peace, and praying his discharge.

Page 368

The supreme court denied his application, and remanded him to the custody of the sheriff, whereupon he sued out this writ of error, assigning the unconstitutionality of the law.

In the second case the complaint alleged the unlawful employment by Holden of one William Hooley to work and labor in a certain concentrating mill—the same being an institution for the reduction of ores—for the period of 12 hours per day. The proceedings in this case were precisely the same as in the prior case, and it was admitted that there was no distinction in principle between the two cases.

J. M. Wilson, for plaintiff in error.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 368-380 intentionally omitted]

Page 380

Chas. J. Pence, for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice BROWN, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.

This case involves the constitutionality of an act of the legislature of Utah entitled 'An act regulating the hours of employment in underground mines and in smelters and ore reduction works.' The following are the material provisions:

'Section 1. The period of employment of workingmen in all underground mines or workings shall be eight hours per day, except in cases of emergency where life or property is in imminent danger.

'Sec. 2. The period of employment of workingmen in smelters and all other institutions for the reduc ion or refining of ores or metals shall be eight hours per day, except in cases of emergency where life or property is in imminent danger.

'Sec. 3. Any person, body corporate, agent, manager, or employer, who shall violate any of the provisions of sections one and two of this act, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.'

The supreme court of Utah was of opinion that, if authority in the legislature were needed for the enactment of the statute in question, it was found in that part of article 16 of the constitution of the state which declared that 'the legislature shall

Page 381

pass laws to provide for the health and safety of employees in factories, smelters and mines.' As the article deals exclusively with the rights of labor, it is here reproduced in full, as exhibiting the authority under which the legislature acted, and as throwing light upon its intention in enacting the statute in question (Laws 1896, p. 219):

'Section 1. The rights of labor shall have just protection through laws calculated to promote the industrial welfare of the state.

'Sec. 2. The legislature shall provide by law for a board of labor, conciliation and arbitration which shall fairly represent the interests of both capital and labor. The board shall perform duties and receive compensation as prescribed by law.

'Sec. 3. The legislature shall prohibit:

'(1) The employment of women, or of children under the age of fourteen years, in underground mines.

'(2) The contracting of convict labor.

'(3) The labor of convicts outside prison grounds, except on public works under the direct control of the state.

'(4) The political and commercial control of employees.

'Sec. 4. The exchange of blacklists by railroad companies, or other corporations, associations or persons is prohibited.

'Sec. 5. The right of action to recover damages for injuries resulting in death shall never be abrogated, and the amount recoverable shall not be subject to any statutory limitation.

'Sec. 6. Eight hours shall constitute a day's work on all works or undertakings carried on or aided by the state, county or municipal governments; and the legislature shall pass laws to provide for the health and safety of employees in factories, smelters and mines.

'Sec. 7. The legislature, by appropriate legislation, shall provide for the enforcement of the provisions of this article.'

The validity of the statute in question is, however, challenged upon the ground of an alleged violation of the fourteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States, in that it abridges the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, deprives both the employer and the

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laborer of his property without due process of law, and denies to them the equal protection of the laws. As the three questions of abridging their immunities, depriving them of their property, and denying them the protection of the laws, are so connected that the authorities upon each are, to a greater or less extent, perinent to the others, they may properly be considered together.

Prior to the adoption of the fourteenth amendment, there was a similar provision against deprivation of life, liberty, or property without due process of law incorporated in the fifth amendment; but as the first eight amendments to the constitution were obligatory only upon congress, the decisions of this court under this amendment have but a partial application to the fourteenth amendment, which operates only upon the action of the several states. The fourteenth amendment, which was finally adopted July 28, 1868, largely expanded the power of the federal courts and congress, and for the first time authorized the former to declare invalid all laws and judicial decisions of the states abridging the rights of citizens, or denying them the benefit of due process of law.

This amendment was first called to the attention of this court in 1872, in an attack upon the constitutionality of a law of the state of Louisiana, passed in 1869, vesting in a slaughte -house company therein named the sole and exclusive privilege of conducting and carrying on a live-stock landing and slaughter-house business within certain limits specified in the act, and requiring all animals intended for sale and slaughter to be landed at their wharves or landing places. Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 36. While the court in that case recognized the fact that the primary object of this amendment was to secure to the colored race, then recently emancipated, the full enjoyment of their freedom, the further fact that it was not restricted to that purpose was admitted both in the prevailing and dissenting opinions, and the validity of the act was sustained as a proper police regulation for the health and comfort of the people. A majority of the cases which have since arisen have turned, not upon a denial to the colored race of rights therein secured to them, but upon alleged discriminations

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in matters entirely outside of the political relations of the parties aggrieved.

These cases may be divided, generally, into two classes: First, where a state legislature or a state court is alleged to have unjustly discriminated in favor of or against a particular individual or class of individuals, as distinguished from the rest of the community, or denied them the benefit of due process of law; second, where the legislature has changed its general system of jurisprudence by abolishing what had been previously considered necessary to the proper administration of justice, or the protection of the individual.

Among those of the first class, which, for the sake of brevity, may be termed 'unjust discriminations,' are those wherein the colored race was alleged to have been denied the right of representation upon juries (Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U. S. 303; Virginia v. Rives, Id. 313; Ex parte Virginia, Id. 339; Neal v. Delaware, 103 U. S. 370; Bush v. Kentucky, 107 U. S. 110, 1 Sup. Ct. 625; Gibson v....

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479 practice notes
  • Paramount Pictures v. Langer, No. 882
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of North Dakota
    • July 14, 1938
    ...whether its action be a mere excuse for an unjust discrimination, or the oppression or spoliation of a particular class." Holden v. Hardy, 169 U.S. 366, 398, 18 S. Ct. 383, 390, 42 L.Ed. 780. The presumption that legislative action is valid is a presumption of the existence of factual condi......
  • Larabee v. Dolley, 8,810
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • December 23, 1909
    ...of the fourteenth amendment to the federal Constitution. As to what constitutes due process of law, Mr. Justice Brown, in Holden v. Hardy, 169 U.S. 366, 18 Sup.Ct. 383, 42 L.Ed. 780, said: 'Recognizing the difficulty in defining, with exactness, the phrase 'due process of law,' it is certai......
  • United States v. Orthofix, Inc., Criminal Action No. 12–10169–WGY, 12–10374–WGY.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • July 26, 2013
    ...169, 23 S.Ct. 821, 47 L.Ed. 1002 (1903); Knoxville Iron Co. v. Harbison, 183 U.S. 13, 22 S.Ct. 1, 46 L.Ed. 55 (1901); Holden v. Hardy, 169 U.S. 366, 18 S.Ct. 383, 42 L.Ed. 780 (1898))). 17. It is notable, moreover, that, after the Supreme Court vacated and remanded the First Circuit's opini......
  • People v. Jackson, Cr. 20910
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • October 23, 1980
    ...the states through the due process clause. (Powell v. Alabama, supra, 287 U.S. at p. 71, 53 S.Ct. at p. 65, quoting Holden v. Hardy (1898) 169 U.S. 366, 389, 18 S.Ct. 383, 387, 42 L.Ed. The question in this case is whether the state may execute a person when his state-appointed attorney fai......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
476 cases
  • Paramount Pictures v. Langer, No. 882
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of North Dakota
    • July 14, 1938
    ...whether its action be a mere excuse for an unjust discrimination, or the oppression or spoliation of a particular class." Holden v. Hardy, 169 U.S. 366, 398, 18 S. Ct. 383, 390, 42 L.Ed. 780. The presumption that legislative action is valid is a presumption of the existence of factual condi......
  • Larabee v. Dolley, 8,810
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • December 23, 1909
    ...of the fourteenth amendment to the federal Constitution. As to what constitutes due process of law, Mr. Justice Brown, in Holden v. Hardy, 169 U.S. 366, 18 Sup.Ct. 383, 42 L.Ed. 780, said: 'Recognizing the difficulty in defining, with exactness, the phrase 'due process of law,' it is certai......
  • United States v. Orthofix, Inc., Criminal Action No. 12–10169–WGY, 12–10374–WGY.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • July 26, 2013
    ...169, 23 S.Ct. 821, 47 L.Ed. 1002 (1903); Knoxville Iron Co. v. Harbison, 183 U.S. 13, 22 S.Ct. 1, 46 L.Ed. 55 (1901); Holden v. Hardy, 169 U.S. 366, 18 S.Ct. 383, 42 L.Ed. 780 (1898))). 17. It is notable, moreover, that, after the Supreme Court vacated and remanded the First Circuit's opini......
  • People v. Jackson, Cr. 20910
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • October 23, 1980
    ...the states through the due process clause. (Powell v. Alabama, supra, 287 U.S. at p. 71, 53 S.Ct. at p. 65, quoting Holden v. Hardy (1898) 169 U.S. 366, 389, 18 S.Ct. 383, 387, 42 L.Ed. The question in this case is whether the state may execute a person when his state-appointed attorney fai......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • If Research Agenda Were Honest.
    • United States
    • Yale Journal of Law & Technology Nbr. 24, January 2022
    • January 1, 2022
    ...each assertion of law or fact that you make in the body of your article will require a footnote."). (9) See, e.g., Holden v. Hardy, 169 U.S. 366, 387 (1898) ("[I]t is impossible to forecast the character or extent of these changes; but in view of the fact that ... amendments to the structur......
  • Competing Constraints: State Court Responses to Supreme Court Decisions and Legislation on Wages and Hours
    • United States
    • Political Research Quarterly Nbr. 58-2, June 2005
    • June 1, 2005
    ...319 TABLE 1 SUPREME COURT PRECEDENT Time Period Signal Supreme Court Case Decision The Holden Period 1898-1905 + Holden v. Hardy, 169 U. S. 366 Upholds Utah law on miners hours. + Atkins v. Kansas, 191 U.S. 207 (1903) Upholds state regulation of hours of workers on public works. The Lochner......

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