The Hughes Court (1930–41)

Commerce and Labor

CourtSpeak: Schecter Poultry Corp. v. United States
“Sick Chicken” Case (1935)

Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes (majority): “Extraordinary conditions do not create or enlarge constitutional power. The Constitution established a national government with powers deemed to be adequate, as they have proved to be both in war and peace, but these powers of the national government are limited by the constitutional grants. Those who act under these grants are not at liberty to transcend the imposed limits because they believe that more or different power is necessary.”

Justice Benjamin Cardozo (concurring): “If that conception shall prevail, anything that Congress may do within the limits of the Commerce Clause for the betterment of business may be done by the President upon the recommendation of a trade association by calling it a code. This is delegation run riot.”


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