Constitutional History - Examination #1
To be done in class on Thursday, September 25th. Open book: You may bring your text (Kutler and Hoffer), printed out Supreme Court opinions, notes from class, and an outline. You MAY NOT bring a prepared answer. Group studying is encouraged and you may collectively come up with an outline if you wish but you must write your own answer.
Darwin and Mary Toogood v. State of
the State of North Dakota held extensive legislative hearings over conditions
in the petroleum refining business. At
these hearings numerous small businessmen testified that Standard Oil of North
Dakota pursued wage and labor policies in
same year the
“Workers and Maternal Health Improvement Bill,” however, was vetoed by the
Republican governor, and became the most important issue in the 1910 state
election. Running as the candidate of
the farmer-labor party, socialist leader Ira P. Worthaggen
campaigned for a ten-hour day as a “right of labor” and won election as
In the four
years after enactment, employment of females in oil refining fell in
Charles Hardheart Darwin was the owner of an oil refinery that in
1910 produced approximately 5% of the refined oil in
his conviction to the
in the North Dakota Supreme Court, Darwin and his lawyers appealed through a
writ of error to the United States Supreme Court. His appeal was joined by one of his former
workers, Mary Toogood, who had been laid off from her
job because she could no longer work the 75 hour week she had previously
lawyers submitted a doctor’s report that she was in average health for a
29-year old female, and the mother of one child (born before she began to work
Write the Supreme Court opinion in the case.
1. You may take either side on any issue that you wish to, but your opinion should be consistent with the reasoning that a court might have given at that time.
2. Remember that you are writing an opinion, not an essay about the case. You can and should acknowledge (and refute) arguments on the other side of the case, but you do not have to present a “complete” or “balanced” response to the case.
3. You opinion should be a logical argument leading to a conclusion about the constitutionality of the law. You should probably separate out, both in making sense of the material and in outlining and then writing your answer, the commerce issue from the “liberty of contract” issue, and then within the “liberty of contract” issue the law as applied to men and to women. There are other ways to organize your opinion, but make sure you have a clear sense of the various parts of the question.
4. You do not need a long introduction laying out all the facts – just a brief overview. You should make clear the general approach you take to issues (presumption of constitutionality/police powers v. “liberty of contract” etc.), you should support your argument with reference to specific opinions you have read or that are in your text book (you may, if you wish, bring in other cases from this era, 1870s-1920s, but you need not do so). You may use cases that were decided after through the 1920s.
5. Your opinion should make clear the political and judicial philosophy you are expressing. These can be notions about political economy (social Darwinism, dangers of monopoly capitalism, health hazards of “modern” industry or the “right to labor”) and about judicial rules of interpretation (presumption of constitutionality, "rule of reason," "flow of commerce."). That is, there ought to be a policy rationale implicit in your opinion that reflects the debates of that era, and you need to make it a little more explicit than some courts did. If you do not have a good grasp of how such ideas were incorporated in Supreme Court opinions, the Hoffer history of the Supreme Court help (Waite, Fuller and White courts). You can get from them, for example, a better sense of how Social Darwinism affected decisions or why and how courts that struck down state laws under the 14th Amendment also used the commerce power to do so.
6. You may quote (always use quotation marks) from the cases you cite. You need not do this extensively, but some very specific references to the readings is essential.
Your opinion will be evaluated on (1) organization and logic; (2) strength of argument; (3) use of relevant court cases; (4) articulation of underlying assumptions; (5) consistency with the way cases from that era were determined.
Note: Socialist candidates were feared by some as alien radicals, but in this period socialism was popular with many American workers, and socialist parties did well in both state and national elections. Eugene Debs, as a socialist presidential candidate, gained over a million votes.