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Case Basics
Docket No. 
United States
Decided By 
Location: Congress
Facts of the Case 

In 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act to regulate many aspects of employment including minimum wages, maximum weekly hours, and child labor. Corporations which engaged in interstate commerce or produced goods which were sold in other states were punished for violating the statute.


Was the act a legitimate exercise of Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce?

Decision: 8 votes for United States, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Fair Labor Standards Act; US Const. Art 1, Section 8

The unanimous Court affirmed the right of Congress to exercise "to its utmost extent" the powers reserved for it in the Commerce Clause. Relying heavily on the Court's decision in Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), Justice Stone argued that the "motive and purpose of a regulation of interstate commerce are matters for the legislative judgment . . . over which the courts are given no control." Congress acted with proper authority in outlawing substandard labor conditions since they have a significant impact on interstate commerce.

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UNITED STATES v. DARBY. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 30 August 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1949/1940/1940_82>.
UNITED STATES v. DARBY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1949/1940/1940_82 (last visited August 30, 2015).
"UNITED STATES v. DARBY," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 30, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1949/1940/1940_82.