Adkins v. Children's Hospital

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Adkins v. Children's Hospital was a conservative 1923 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down a minimum wage law; 61 U.S. 525 (1923)

It held unconstitutional an act of Congress that created a minimum wage board to ascertain and fix adequate wages for women employees in the District of Columbia. The question before the Court was whether the act of Congress constituted a deprivation of "life, liberty or property without due process of law" under the Fifth Amendment. The Court held by a vote of five to three that the act was an unjustified interference by Congress with the freedom of employer and employee to contract as they pleased. Justices William H. Taft, Edward Sanford, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, dissenting, took the view that the Fifth Amendment did not stand in the way of reasonable legislation calculated to correct admitted evils. The case was expressly overruled by New Deal Court "West Coast Hotel Company v. Parrish," 57 Supreme Court 578 (1937).


  • Zimmerman, Joan G. "The Jurisprudence of Equality: The Women's Minimum Wage, the First Equal Rights Amendment, and Adkins v. Children's Hospital, 1905-1923," The Journal of American History, Vol. 78, No. 1 (Jun., 1991), pp. 188–225 in JSTOR