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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Location: Cotton mill
Facts of the Case 

The Keating-Owen Child Labor Act prohibited the interstate shipment of goods produced by child labor. Reuben Dagenhart's father had sued on behalf of his freedom to allow his fourteen year old son to work in a textile mill.


Does the congressional act violate the Commerce Clause, the Tenth Amendment, or the Fifth Amendment?

Decision: 5 votes for Dagenhart, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: US Const. Art 1, Section 8, Clause 3; US Const. Amend 10; Keating-Owen Act of 1916

Day spoke for the Court majority and found two grounds to invalidate the law. Production was not commerce, and thus outside the power of Congress to regulate. And the regulation of production was reserved by the Tenth Amendment to the states. Day wrote that "the powers not expressly delegated to the national government are reserved" to the states and to the people. In his wording, Day revised the Constitution slightly and changed the intent of the framers: The Tenth Amendment does not say "expressly." The framers purposely left the word expressly out of the amendment because they believed they could not possibly specify every power that might be needed in the future to run the government.

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HAMMER v. DAGENHART. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 01 September 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1901-1939/1917/1917_704>.
HAMMER v. DAGENHART, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1901-1939/1917/1917_704 (last visited September 1, 2015).
"HAMMER v. DAGENHART," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 1, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1901-1939/1917/1917_704.