MCLEAN V. ARKANSAS, 211 U. S. 539 (1909)

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U.S. Supreme Court

McLean v. Arkansas, 211 U.S. 539 (1909)

McLean v. Arkansas

No. 9

Submitted November 30, 1908

Decided January 4, 1909

211 U.S. 539


Liberty of contract which is protected against hostile state legislation is not universal, but is subject to legislative restrictions in the exercise of the police power of the state.

The police power of the state is not unlimited, and is subject to judicial review, and laws arbitrarily and oppressively exercising it may be annulled as violative of constitutional rights.

The legislature of a state is primarily the judge of the necessity of exercising the police power, and courts will only interfere in case the act exceeds legislative authority; the fact that the court doubts its wisdom or propriety affords no ground for declaring a state law unconstitutional or invalid.

In the light of conditions surrounding their enactment, this Court will not hold that the legislative acts requiring coal to be measured for payment of miners' wages before screening are not reasonable police regulations and within the police power of the state, and so held that the Arkansas act so providing is not unconstitutional under the

Page 211 U. S. 540

due process or the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

It is not an unreasonable classification to divide coal mines into those where less than ten miners are employed and those where more than that number are employed, and a state police regulation is not unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because only applicable to mines where more than ten miners are employed.

81 Ark. 304 affirmed.

The facts, which involved the constitutionality of the Arkansas Coal Miners' Wages Act, are stated in the opinion.

Page 211 U. S. 542

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