BARRETT V. STATE, 229 U. S. 26 (1913)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Barrett v. State, 229 U.S. 26 (1913)

Barrett v. State

No. 245

Submitted April 18, 1913

Decided May 26, 1913

229 U.S. 26


Coal mining is a dangerous business and subject to police regulation by the state.

The legislature of the state is itself the judge of means necessary to secure the safety of those engaged in a dangerous business, and only such regulations as are palpably arbitrary can be set aside as violating the due process provision of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The equal protection provision of the Fourteenth Amendment requires laws of like application to all similarly situated, but the legislature is allowed wide discretion in the selection of classes.

A classification, in a police statute regulating operations in coal mines including bituminous coal mine and excluding block coal mines, is not so unreasonable or arbitrary as to justify the courts in overruling the legislature.

It is the province of the legislature to make the laws and of the court to enforce them.

Courts will not interfere with a police statute on the ground that the classification is so arbitrary as to deny equal protection of the laws unless it appears that there is no fair reason for the law that would with equal force not require its extension to others whom it leaves untouched. Missouri, Kansas & Texas Ry. v. May, 194 U. S. 267.

The statute of Indiana requiring entries in coal mines to be of a specified width was a reasonable exercise of the police power of the state in regulating a dangerous business and is not unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment either as depriving the owner of bituminous coal mines of their property without due process of law or a denying them equal protection of the law because it expressly excepts block coal mines.

174 Ind. 112 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the Fourteenth Amendment of the statute of Indiana prescribing the width of entries in bituminous coal mines, are stated in the opinion.

Page 229 U. S. 27

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