National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1907-1930: We are a diverse nation, confronting our differences

February 24, 1908
Social reformers win a victory in Muller v. Oregon

Women working in factories

States can now limit women’s working hours without running afoul of the Constitution.

Just three years ago, the Supreme Court overturned a similar law affecting male workers in New York, saying it interfered with the right to buy and sell labor freely.

But the Court says the new Oregon law is justified. According to the Court, states have a particular interest in protecting women’s health because of women’s “physical structure” and “maternal functions.”

The Justices are suspicious of workplace rules that restrict “liberty of contract.” But this law, they say, passes muster because it was imposed not just for the benefit of women, but “largely for the benefit of all.”

Read about it in the New York times

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