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Adkins v. Children's Hospital

Significance, Protective Legislation V. Equality, But Are They Constitutional?, History Of The Minimum Wage


Jesse C. Adkins, et al.; Minimum Wage Board of District of Columbia


Children's Hospital of the District of Columbia

Appellants' Claim

That the U.S. Congress has the right to establish minimum wages for women and children.

Chief Lawyer for Appellants

Felix Frankfurter

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Wade H. Ellis

Justices for the Court

Pierce Butler, Joseph McKenna, James Clark McReynolds, George Sutherland (writing for the Court), Willis Van Devanter

Justices Dissenting

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Edward Terry Sanford, William Howard Taft (Louis D. Brandeis did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

9 April 1923


Minimum wage laws for women are unconstitutional because they interfere with the liberty of contract guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Related Cases

  • West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379 (1937).
  • Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992).


West's Encyclopedia of American Law, vol. 7 Minneapolis, MN: West Publishing, 1998.

Further Readings

  • Goldstein, Leslie Friedman. The Constitutional Rights of Women, rev. ed. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989.
  • Hoff, Joan. Law, Gender, and Injustice: A Legal History of U.S. Women. New York: New York University Press, 1991.
  • Tribe, Lawrence H. American Constitutional Law. Mineola, New York: The Foundation Press, 1988.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940