Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Newly Elected Utah Senator Declares That Federal Law Banning Child Labor is Unconstitutional

The senator refers to an early decision that child labor laws are the responsibility of the states. The federal child labor act of 1938 was upheld in 1941 and overturned the decision to which the senator referred. The court argued that federal government had the right to regulated interstate commerce. Apparently, the senator does not believe that manufacturing in Utah involves interstate commerce.

This particular issue is not as troubling as the implications. Can we expect that the newly elected GOP Congress follow the Tea Party imperative of pushing for a new federalism that gives the states more authority relative to the federal government. This would lead to more State Attorney Generals, like the one in Texas, who argue that the EPA has no constitutional authority to regulate CO2 emissions. Moreover, I would hate to see what would happen to labor laws if they were left to the states.

Given the economic and social problems that we face today and in the future, its hard to imagine that child labor laws in Utah, and the interpretation of the Constitution, are the issues that the new members of Congress should be focused upon.

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