ArtI.S8.C3.1.10.7 The Darby Case

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3:

[The Congress shall have Power . . .] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes; . . .

In sustaining the Fair Labor Standards Act 1 in 1941, 2 the Court expressly overruled Hammer v. Dagenhart. 3 The distinction on which the [latter case] . . . was rested that Congressional power to prohibit interstate commerce is limited to articles which in themselves have some harmful or deleterious property – a distinction which was novel when made and unsupported by any provision of the Constitution – has long since been abandoned. . . . The thesis of the opinion that the motive of the prohibition or its effect to control in some measure the use or production within the States of the article thus excluded from the commerce can operate to deprive the regulation of its constitutional authority has long since ceased to have force. . . . The conclusion is inescapable that Hammer v. Dagenhart, was a departure from the principles which have prevailed in the interpretation of the Commerce Clause both before and since the decision and that such vitality, as a precedent, as it then had has long since been exhausted. It should be and now is overruled.4


  1.  29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219.
  2.  United States v. Darby, 312 U.S. 100 (1941).
  3.  247 U.S. 251 (1918).
  4.  312 U.S. at 116-17.