Bunting v. Oregon

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Bunting v. Oregon
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued April 18, 1916
Reargued January 19, 1917
Decided April 9, 1917
Full case name Franklin O. Bunting, Plaintiff in Error v. The State of Oregon
Citations 243 U.S. 426 (more)
37 S. Ct. 435; 61 L. Ed. 830; 1917 U.S. LEXIS 2008
Prior history 71 Or. 259 (1914)
No. The court affirmed the decision of the Oregon Supreme Court upholding the state law as constitutional.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority McKenna, joined by Holmes, Day, Pitney, Clarke
Dissent White
Dissent Van Devanter
Dissent McReynolds
Brandeis took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Bunting v. Oregon, 243 U.S. 426 (1917), is a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a ten-hour work day. The trials of Bunting v. Oregon resulted in acceptance of a ten-hour workday for both men and women, but the state minimum-wage laws weren't changed until twenty years later. Future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter along with future Oregon Supreme Court justices George M. Brown and John O. Bailey represented Oregon on the appeal while W. Lair Thompson and former Senator for Oregon Charles W. Fulton represented Bunting.[1]


A 1913 state law prescribed a 10-hour day for men and women, expanding the law regulating women's hours upheld in Muller v. Oregon. The measure also required that business pay time-and-a-half wages for overtime up to 3 hours a day. Oregon asserted that the law was an appropriate exercise of its police powers. Bunting failed to comply with the overtime regulations of the state.

Question Before the Court[edit]

Does the State measure limiting a work day to ten hours and requiring overtime interfere with a citizens right to form a contract, protected by the Fourteenth Amendment?

Decision of the Supreme Court[edit]

The Court upheld the decision of the Oregon Supreme Court, finding that the state acted within the scope of its police powers, and had the authority to regulate the health, safety, and welfare of workers within the state of Oregon. Relying on the justifications made by the Oregon court and legislature, Justice McKenna dismissed Bunting's contention that the law did nothing to preserve the health of employees. The Court found that the law did not provide an unfair advantage to certain types of employers in the labor market since it regulated the hours of service for workers and not the wages that they earned. Under the Oregon statute, workers and their employers were still free to implement a wage scheme which was agreeable to both of them.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bunting v. Oregon, 243 U.S. 426 (1917).
  2. ^ "Bunting v. Oregon 243 U.S. 426 (1917)". The Oyez Project. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Bunting v. Oregon 243 U.S. 426 (1917)". Justia. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  • Shi, David E.; George Brown Tindall (2004). America - A Narrative History, Brief (6th. ed.). Norton. ISBN 0-393-97813-3.