Adkins v. Children`s Hospital

In this 1923 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress had acted unconstitionally in establishing a Minimum Wage Board to ascertain and fix sufficient wages for women employees in DC.

The Court applied the Fifth Amendment prohibition against the deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process. By a vote of 5 to 3, the court concluded that Congress had interfered with the freedom of employer and employee to contract however they pleased. Writing in dissent, justices William Howard Taft, Sanford and Oliver Wendell Holmes stated that the Fifth Amendment should not be interpreted as interfering with reasonable legislation to overcome recognized evils.

In discussing the decision, Justice Sutherland gave a cogent description of the principle of judicial review, but his decision to apply the Fifth, Fourteenth, and even the Nineteenth amendments against the constitutionality of the legislation reflected the conservative view of the court between the Progressive Era and the New Deal.

Adkins was explicitly overturned by the Supreme Court`s ruling in the West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish case in 1937.