United States v. Darby Case Brief

Summary of United States v. Darby
312 U.S. 100 (1941)

Facts: Darby, a Georgia lumber manufacturer, was indicted for violation the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Procedure: The District Court quashed the indictment holding that the act was unconstitutional because it sought to regulate hours and wages of employees in local manufacturing activities.

Issue: 1. Does Congress have constitutional power to prohibit the shipment in interstate commerce of lumber manufactured by employees whose wages do not meet the prescribed minimum? 2. Does the Congress have the power to prohibit the employment of workmen in the production of goods for interstate commerce other than prescribed wages and hours?

Holding: 1. Yes, 2. Yes

Rationale: The commerce power of congress not only includes regulations which aid, foster and protect commerce, but it also includes regulations which prohibit it. Congress may prohibit articles from interstate commerce that are noxious, stolen, convict-made, etc. Likewise, Congress has the power to prohibit articles from interstate commerce that are the product of substandard labor conditions. Such products also provide unfair competition for those companies that are producing same articles under accepted labor conditions. As to the second issue, Congress has the power to use any means to accomplish a legitimate end. In the current case, the Congress can regulate intrastate activities as long as the end is to control interstate commerce. “Congress, having by the present Act adopted the policy of excluding from interstate commerce all goods produced for the commerce which do not conform to the specified labor standards, may choose the means reasonably adapted to the attainment of the permitted end, even though they involve control of intrastate activities. Reversed.



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