Kirschbaum v. Walling Arsenal Bldg Corporation v. Same, Nos. 910

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtFRANKFURTER
Citation62 S.Ct. 1116,316 U.S. 517,86 L.Ed. 1638
Docket NumberNos. 910,924
Decision Date01 June 1942
PartiesKIRSCHBAUM v. WALLING, Administrator of Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor. ARSENAL BLDG. CORPORATION et al. v. SAME

316 U.S. 517
62 S.Ct. 1116
86 L.Ed. 1638
KIRSCHBAUM

v.

WALLING, Administrator of Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor. ARSENAL BLDG. CORPORATION et al. v. SAME.

Nos. 910, 924.
Argued April 28, 29, 1942.
Decided June 1, 1942.

Messrs. Wm. Clarke Mason and Frederick H. Knight, both of Philadelphia, Pa., for petitioner A. B. Kirschbaum Co.

Messrs. Walter Gordon Merritt and Kenneth c. Newman, both of New York City, for petitioners Arsenal Bldg. Corporation and another.

Charles Fahy, Sol. Gen.,

Page 518

for respondent.

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

In United States v. Darby, 312 U.S. 100, 657, 61 S.Ct. 451, 85 L.Ed. 609, 132 A.L.R. 1430, and Opp Cotton Mills v. Administrator, 312 U.S. 126, 657, 61 S.Ct. 524, 85 L.Ed. 624, the constitutionality of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, 52 Stat. 1060, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., 29 U.S.C.A. § 201 et seq., was sustained. In the cases now before us we are required to consider the scope of the Act in relation to a particular phase of industrial activity. Specifically, the problem is this: Under § 6 of the Act an employer must pay prescribed minimum wages 'to each of his employees who is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce', and under § 7 overtime compensation must be given 'any of his employees who is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce'. Section 3(j) provides that 'for the purposes of this Act (chapter) an employee shall be deemed to have been engaged in the production of goods if such employee was employed * * * in any process or occupation necessary to the production thereof, in any State.' The employees here are engaged in the operation and maintenance of a loft building in which large quantities of goods for interstate commerce are produced. Does the Fair Labor Standards Act extend to such employees?

The facts in the two cases differ only in minor detail. In No. 910, the petitioner owns and operates a six-story loft building in Philadelphia. The tenants are, for the most part, manufacturers of men's and boys' clothing. In No 924, the petitioners own and operate a twenty-two story building located in the heart of the New York City clothing manufacturing district. Practically all of the

Page 519

tenants manufacture or buy and sell ladies' garments. Concededly, in both cases the tenants of the buildings are principally engaged in the production of goods for interstate commerce. In No. 910, the petitioner employs an engineer, three firemen, three elevator operators, two watchmen, a porter, a carpenter, and a carpenter's helper. In No. 924, the controversy involves two firemen, an electrician, fourteen elevator operators, two watchmen, and six porters. These employees perform the customary duties of persons charged with the effective maintenance of a loft building. The engineer and the firemen produce heat, hot water, and steam necessary to the manufacturing operations. They keep elevators, radiators, and fire sprinkler systems in repair. The electrician maintains the system which furnishes the tenants with light and power. The elevator operators run both the freight elevators which start and finish the interstate journeys of goods going from and coming to the tenants, and the passenger elevators which carry employees, customers, salesmen, and visitors. The watchmen protect the buildings from fire and theft. The carpenters repair the halls and stairways and other parts of the buildings commonly used by the tenants. The porters keep the buildings clean and habitable.

Deeming these employees within the Act because of their relationship to the activities of the tenants, the Administrator brought suits to enjoin the petitioners from violating the Act by paying wages at lower rates than those fixed by the Act. In No. 910, the District Court granted an injunction, Fleming v. A. B. Kirschbaum Co., 38 F.Supp. 204, and the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed. 124 F.2d 567. In No. 924, the District Court denied an injunction, Fleming v. Arsenal Building Corp., 38 F.Supp. 207, but the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed. 125 F.2d 278. Despite

Page 520

this concurrence of views of the two Circuit Courts of Appeals,1 we brought the cases here because of the important questions presented as to the scope of the Fair Labor Standards Act. A. B. Kirschbaum Co. v. Fleming, 315 U.S. 792, 62 S.Ct. 800, 86 L.Ed. -; Arsenal Building Corp. v. Fleming, 315 U.S. 792, 62 S.Ct. 801, 86 L.Ed. —-.

To search for a dependable touchstone by which to determine whether employees are 'engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce' is as rewarding as an attempt to square the circle. The judicial task in marking out the extent to which Congress has exercised its constitutional power over commerce is not that of devising an abstract formula. Perhaps in no domain of public law are general propositions less helpful and indeed more mischievous than where boundaries must be drawn under a federal enactment between what it has taken over for administration by the central Government and what it has left to the States. To a considerable extent the task is one of accommodation as between assertions of new federal authority and historic functions of the individual states. The expansion of our industrial economy has inevitably been reflected in the extension of federal authority over economic enterprise and its absorption of authority previously possessed by the States. Federal legislation of this character cannot therefore be construed without regard to the implications of our dual system of government.

The body of Congressional enactments regulating commerce reveals a process of legislation which is strikingly empiric. The degree of accommodation made by Congress from time to time in the relations between federal and state governments has varied with the subject mat-

Page 521

ter of the legislation, the history behind the particular field of regulation, the specific terms in which the new regulatory legislation has been cast, and the procedures established for its administration. See, e.g., Virginian R. Co. v. System Federation, 300 U.S. 515, 57 S.Ct. 592, 81 L.Ed. 789. Thus, while a phase of industrial enterprise may be subject to control under the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 151 et seq., a different phase of the same enterprise may not come within the 'commerce' protected by the Sherman Law, 15 U.S.C.A. §§ 1-7, 15 note. Compare, for example, United Leather Workers' International Union v. Herkert & Meisel Trunk Co., 265 U.S. 457, 44 S.Ct. 623, 68 L.Ed. 1104, 33 A.L.R. 566, and Levering & G. Co. v. Morrin, 289 U.S. 103, 53 S.Ct. 549, 77 L.Ed. 1062, with National Labor Relations Board v. Friedman-Harry Marks Clothing Co., 301 U.S. 58, 57 S.Ct. 645, 81 L.Ed. 921, 108 A.L.R. 1352, and National Labor Relations Board v. Fainblatt, 306 U.S. 601, 307 U.S. 609, 59 S.Ct. 668, 83 L.Ed. 1014. Similarly, enterprises subject to federal industrial regulation may nevertheless be taxed by the States without putting an unconstitutional burden on interstate commerce. Compare Heisler v. Thomas Colliery Co., 260 U.S. 245, 43 S.Ct. 83, 67 L.Ed. 237, and Oliver Iron Mining Co. v. Lord, 262 U.S. 172, 43 S.Ct. 526, 67 L.Ed. 929, with Sunshine Anthracite Coal Co. v. Adkins, 310 U.S. 381, 60 S.Ct. 907, 84 L.Ed. 1263.

We cannot, therefore, indulge in the loose assumption that when Congress adopts a new scheme for federal...

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516 practice notes
  • Burke v. Mesta Mach. Co., Civil Action No. 2744.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • 27 d2 Julho d2 1948
    ...are covered by the Act. Mabee et al. v. White Plans Publishing Co., 327 U.S. 178, 66 S.Ct. 511, 90 L.Ed. 607; Kirschbaum v. Walling, 316 U.S. 517, 524, 62 S.Ct. 1116, 86 L.Ed. 1638; Walling v. Jacksonville Paper Co., 317 U.S. 564, 571, 572, 63 S.Ct. 332, 87 L.Ed. 460; Pentland et al. v. Dra......
  • Gilreath v. Daniel Funeral Home, Inc., No. 19646
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 3 d2 Fevereiro d2 1970
    ...260, 3 L.Ed.2d 243 (1959); Walling v. Jacksonville Paper Co., supra, 317 U.S. at 571-572, 63 S.Ct. 332; A. B. Kirschbaum Co. v. Walling, 316 U.S. 517, 524, 62 S.Ct. 1116, 86 L.Ed. 421 F.2d 511 1638 (1942); Wirtz v. First State Abstract & Insurance Co., 362 F.2d 83, 87 (8th Cir. 1966); Chamb......
  • United States v. Standard Oil Co., Civ. No. 6159-Y.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • 28 d1 Junho d1 1948
    ...the conclusion that when the goods enter the warehouse, they are no longer `in commerce'. But as we stated in Kirschbaum Co. v. Walling, 316 U.S. 517, 520, 521, 62 S.Ct. 1116, 1118, 1119, 86 L.Ed. 1638, decisions dealing with various assertions of state or federal power in the commerce file......
  • Adams v. Long & Turner Const. Co., No. 20736.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 3 d1 Março d1 1947
    ...seq; Executive Order 9240, September 9, 1942; Overstreet v. North Shore Corporation, 318 U.S. 125, 63 S. Ct. 494; Kirschbaum v. Walling, 316 U.S. 517, 62 S. Ct. 1116. McLeod v. Threlkeld, 319 U.S. 491, 63 S. Ct. 1248; U.S.C.A., Title 29, Secs. 206, 207, 208. (5) Respondents' Cases under "En......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
515 cases
  • Burke v. Mesta Mach. Co., Civil Action No. 2744.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • 27 d2 Julho d2 1948
    ...are covered by the Act. Mabee et al. v. White Plans Publishing Co., 327 U.S. 178, 66 S.Ct. 511, 90 L.Ed. 607; Kirschbaum v. Walling, 316 U.S. 517, 524, 62 S.Ct. 1116, 86 L.Ed. 1638; Walling v. Jacksonville Paper Co., 317 U.S. 564, 571, 572, 63 S.Ct. 332, 87 L.Ed. 460; Pentland et al. v. Dra......
  • Gilreath v. Daniel Funeral Home, Inc., No. 19646
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 3 d2 Fevereiro d2 1970
    ...260, 3 L.Ed.2d 243 (1959); Walling v. Jacksonville Paper Co., supra, 317 U.S. at 571-572, 63 S.Ct. 332; A. B. Kirschbaum Co. v. Walling, 316 U.S. 517, 524, 62 S.Ct. 1116, 86 L.Ed. 421 F.2d 511 1638 (1942); Wirtz v. First State Abstract & Insurance Co., 362 F.2d 83, 87 (8th Cir. 1966); Chamb......
  • United States v. Standard Oil Co., Civ. No. 6159-Y.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • 28 d1 Junho d1 1948
    ...the conclusion that when the goods enter the warehouse, they are no longer `in commerce'. But as we stated in Kirschbaum Co. v. Walling, 316 U.S. 517, 520, 521, 62 S.Ct. 1116, 1118, 1119, 86 L.Ed. 1638, decisions dealing with various assertions of state or federal power in the commerce file......
  • Adams v. Long & Turner Const. Co., No. 20736.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 3 d1 Março d1 1947
    ...seq; Executive Order 9240, September 9, 1942; Overstreet v. North Shore Corporation, 318 U.S. 125, 63 S. Ct. 494; Kirschbaum v. Walling, 316 U.S. 517, 62 S. Ct. 1116. McLeod v. Threlkeld, 319 U.S. 491, 63 S. Ct. 1248; U.S.C.A., Title 29, Secs. 206, 207, 208. (5) Respondents' Cases under "En......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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