The Hughes Court (1930–41)

Commerce and Labor

Which justice changed his vote from one minimum wage case to the other?

Justice Owen Roberts switched his vote from striking down a minimum wage law in Morehead to upholding such a law in Parrish. It was said that Roberts’s change of mind was the “switch in time that saved nine”—a reference to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s sharp criticism of the Court and his proposal in 1937 to “pack” the Court with additional justices. In reality, Roberts had indicated his support for the minimum wage law in a Court conference in December 1936 before President Roosevelt’s court-packing plan was announced.

Associate Justice Owen J. Roberts walks down a street near the U.S. Supreme Court Building. Roberts voted against a minimum wage law in Morehead v. New York Ex. Rel. Tipaldo (1936) but voted for it a year later in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish. John Phillips/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images.

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