In the case of Bailey v. Drexel Furniture (259 U.S. 20 (1922)), the Federal government was attempting to come up with a way they could regulate child labor, since their attempt to regulate it under the Interstate Commerce Clause had been struck down in Hammer v. Dagenheart (247 U.S. 251 (1918)). So, instead of trying to say that goods made with child labor could not be sold in other States, they just put a big excise tax on goods made with child labor. Once again, the US Supreme Court overturned the law on the basis that it exceeded Congress’ power to tax.

The Court said that this case was distinguished from United States v. Doremus (249 U.S. 86 (1919)), because in that case, there was a legitimate reason to tax, while in this case, there wasn’t even a prima facie reason for the tax. It was obviously there solely to regulate behavior.

  • Was the fact that one case was opposed by drug addicts while the other case was opposed by big business make a difference in how the cases were decided?