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Wilson v. New - Significance, The Eight-hour Workday

court missouri appellant railway


Francis M. Wilson, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri


Alexander New and Henry C. Ferris, as Receivers of the Missouri, Oklahoma, & Gulf Railway Company

Appellant's Claim

The act of 3 September 1916 entitled "An Act to establish an eight-hour day for employees of carriers engaged in interstate and foreign commerce, and for other purposes" is constitutional and is aimed at establishing an eight-hour standard for work and wages and establishing a minimum wage.

Chief Lawyers for Appellant

John William Davis, U.S. Solicitor General; Frank Hagerman; E. Marvin Underwood; Thomas W. Gregory, U.S. Attorney General

Chief Lawyers for Appellees

Walker D. Hines, John G. Johnson, Arthur Miller

Justices for the Court

Louis D. Brandeis, John Hessin Clarke, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Joseph McKenna, Edward Douglass White (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting

William Rufus Day, James Clark McReynolds, Mahlon Pitney, Willis Van Devanter


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

19 March 1917


Appeal from the District Court of the United States for the Western District of Missouri to review a decree which enjoined the enforcement of a statute fixing an eight-hour workday for, and temporally regulating the ages of, railway employees engaged in the operation of trains upon interstate railway carriers. Reversed and remanded, with directions to dismiss the bill.


Levitan, Sara A., and Richard S. Belous. Shorter Hours, Shorter Weeks. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977.

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.
  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 636.
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