Lochner v. New YorkU.S. Case Law
Legal Definition of Lochner v. New York
198 U.S. 45 (1905), struck down a New York law setting 10 hours' labor a day as the legal maximum. In a case in which a baker had contracted with his employees for longer than the 10-hour working day, Justice Rufus W. Peckham declared that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited the states from curtailing a person's liberty to make his or her own economic arrangements with his or her employees. This decision drew a stinging rebuke from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., whose opinion became the prevailing interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment by the 1930s, when legislation such as maximum-hours laws were held to be constitutional.
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