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Holden v. Hardy

Significance, Utah Limits The Miner's Workday, "a Progressive Science", Miners And Bakers





Plaintiff's Claim

That a Utah state law limiting mine and smelter workers to an eight-hour day was unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment, because it deprived both employers and their workers of their right to make contracts and so denies them the equal protection of the law.

Chief Lawyer for Plaintiff

Jeremiah M. Wilson

Chief Defense Lawyer

Charles J. Pearce

Justices for the Court

Henry Billings Brown (writing for the Court), Melville Weston Fuller, Horace Gray, John Marshall Harlan I, Joseph McKenna, George Shiras, Jr., Edward Douglass White

Justices Dissenting

David Josiah Brewer, Rufus Wheeler Peckham


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

28 February 1898


That the Utah law was not unconstitutional, but rather was a valid use of the state's "police power" since the federal government has the right to preserve the public health, and since working long hours in a mine or smelter is patently unhealthy, the law is valid.

Related Cases

  • Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905).
  • Muller v. Oregon, 208 U.S. 412 (1908).
  • Bunting v. Oregon, 243 U.S. 426 (1917).
  • Adkins v. Children's Hospital, 261 U.S. 525 (1923).
  • Morehead v. New York, 298 U.S. 587 (1936).
  • West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379 (1937).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1883 to 1917