by George Leef
During his talk, Professor Epstein mentioned one of the most famous of all Con Law cases, Lochner v. New York. He said that he thought the decision was correct and I agree. In this piece on Huffington Post, Evan Bernick of the Institute for Justice discusses the case at length.
Statists and “progressives” denounce the Court’s decision as an instance of the judiciary overstepping its bounds. Not at all. The majority simply said that the New York legislation did not have the power to punish workers for putting in more hours than the politicians thought proper. The case created no new powers or alleged “rights” as many decisions have done, but just said that the status quo with individuals getting to make their own labor contracting choices, would stand.
One of Epstein’s superb books is entitled Simple Rules for a Complex World. The common law of contract is a set of simple rules and we’re better off if government officials can’t replace it with their dictates.