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Law School Case Brief

Muller v. Oregon - 208 U.S. 412, 28 S. Ct. 324 (1908)

Rule:

Constitutional questions are not settled by a consensus of present public opinion, for it is the peculiar value of a written constitution that it places in unchanging form limitations upon legislative action, and thus gives a permanence and stability to popular government which otherwise would be lacking. At the same time, when a question of fact is debated and debatable, and the extent of a constitutional limitation is affected by the truth in respect to that fact, a widespread and long continued belief concerning it is worthy of consideration. The court takes judicial cognizance of all matters of general knowledge. 

Facts:

Curt Muller, the owner of a laundry, was convicted of allowing a female employee to work longer than the maximum permitted hours for women. Muller contended that restricting the employment hours of females violated U.S. Const. amend. XIV. The Oregon Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of state restrictions on the working hours of females. 

Issue:

Did the state restrictions on the working hours of females violate the U.S. Const. amend. XIV ?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The United States Supreme Court affirmed, taking judicial notice of the historical belief that women required protective legislation.

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