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Ferguson v. Skrupa DBA Credit Advisors

High Court Rules

On 22 April 1963, the Supreme Court issued its decision. A unanimous majority voted to overturn the district court's decision. Justice Black penned the opinion of the Court, while Justice Harlan issued a short statement concurring in the judgment. The Court's decision left Kansas "free to decide for itself" whether or not to regulate the debt adjustment business.

In presenting his argument, Justice Black first reviewed the High Court's history with regard to cases involving state regulation of economic activity. "There was a time when the Due Process Clause was used by this Court to strike down laws which were thought unreasonable," Black wrote, "that is, unwise or incompatible with some particular economic or social philosophy." He concluded that it was time to re-evaluate the Court's policy with regard to judicial review of legislation. "Under the system of government created by our Constitution," he opined, "it is up to legislatures, not courts, to decide on the wisdom and utility of legislation." For Black, the long-standing Supreme Court belief "that due process authorizes courts to hold laws unconstitutional when they believe the legislature has acted unwisely has long since been discarded. We have returned to the original constitutional proposition that courts do not substitute their social and economic beliefs for the judgment of legislative bodies, who are elected to pass laws."

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972Ferguson v. Skrupa DBA Credit Advisors - The Facts Of The Case, High Court Rules, Broad Scope For State Legislatures