united states v. carolene products co.


  • Supreme Court of the United States; Argued April 6, 1938, Decided April 25, 1938; Full case name: United States v. Carolene Products Company; Citations: 304 U.S. 144 (more),
    58 S. Ct. 778; 82 L. Ed.

  • On restrictions upon the right to vote, see Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536, 47 S.Ct.

  • Nor need we enquire whether similar considerations enter into the review of statutes directed at particular religious, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 45 S.Ct.

  • ; Court membership: Chief Justice: Charles E. Hughes; Associate Justices: James C. McReynolds · Louis Brandeis, Pierce Butler · Harlan F. Stone, Owen Roberts · Benjamin N.
    Cardozo, Hugo Black · Stanley F. Reed; Case opinions: Majority: Stone, joined by Hughes, Brandeis, Roberts, Black (except the part designated “Third”); Concurrence: Butler; Dissent: McReynolds; Reed and Cardozo took no part in the consideration
    or decision of the case; Laws applied: U.S. Const.

  • In his majority opinion for the Court, Associate Justice Harlan F. Stone wrote that economic regulations were “presumptively constitutional” under a deferential standard of
    review known as the “rational basis test”.

  • Nixon v. Herndon, supra; Nixon v. Condon, supra; whether prejudice against discrete and insular minorities may be a special condition, which tends seriously to curtail the
    operation of those political processes ordinarily to be relied upon to protect minorities, and which may call for a correspondingly more searching judicial inquiry.

  • 458; on restraints upon the dissemination of information, see Near v. Minnesota, 283 U.S. 697, 713—714, 718—720, 722, 51 S.Ct.

  • United States v. Carolene Products Company, 304 U.S. 144 (1938), was a case of the United States Supreme Court that upheld the federal government’s power to prohibit filled
    milk from being shipped in interstate commerce.

  • Footnote Four would influence later Supreme Court decisions, and the higher standard of review is now known as “strict scrutiny”.

  • The case is most notable for Footnote Four, in which Stone wrote that the Court would exercise a stricter standard of review when a law appears on its face to violate a provision
    of the United States Constitution, restricts the political process in a way that could impede the repeal of an undesirable law, or discriminates against “discrete and insular” minorities.

  • This higher level of scrutiny, now called “strict scrutiny”, was applied to strike down an inmate forced sterilization law in Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942) and in Justice Black’s
    infamous opinion in Korematsu v. U.S. (1944) in which Japanese internment was upheld despite being subject to heightened scrutiny.

  • The changes meant that many New Deal programs that the Court would previously have struck down as unconstitutional would now be found constitutional.

  • Louis Lusky, Stone’s law clerk during the 1937 term, helped draft Footnote Four.

  • 1066; and see Holmes, J., in Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652, 673, 45 S.Ct.

  • When applied, the law must serve an important governmental interest and be substantially related to that end.

  • [3] The constitutional law scholar John Hart Ely based his major work, Democracy and Distrust, on Footnote Four’s second and third paragraphs, which correspond to the “Democracy”
    and “Distrust” of his title.

  • Footnote Four describes certain legislative acts that might give rise to a higher level of scrutiny.

  • [4] In fact, the cited work above, while quite useful on the origin and growth of the footnote, does not claim that the law clerk was the author, and it implies the opposite,
    based on letters between the justices.

  • In his later work, Our Nine Tribunes: The Supreme Court in Modern America, however, Lusky includes facsimiles of the original drafts of the footnote, the first of which is
    in his own hand.

  • An extremely low standard of judicial review, there is a presumption that the legislation in question is constitutional and the challenging party must show that the law fails
    the test.

  • In its previous term, the Court had dramatically increased the number of activities considered to be in or to affect interstate commerce.

  • “[1][2] Although the Court had applied minimal scrutiny (rational basis review) to the economic regulation in this case, Footnote Four reserved for other types of cases other,
    stricter standards of review.

  • Significance[edit] In keeping with the New Deal Revolution, Carolene Products applies the “rational basis test” to economic legislation.


Works Cited

[‘”Levels of Scrutiny Under the Equal Protection Clause In: University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law Project “exploring Constitutional Conflicts” by Doug Linder (2001)”. University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Archived from the original
on February 1, 2011. Retrieved June 8, 2008.
2. ^ Schulz, David. “Carolene Products Footnote Four”. The First Amendment Encyclopedia presented by the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies. Archived from the original on
April 8, 2020. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
3. ^ Linzer, Peter (1995). “The Carolene Products Footnote and the Preferred Position of Individual Rights: Louis Lusky and John Hart Ely Vs. Harlan Fiske Stone”. Constitutional Commentary. 12: 281–283 –
via University of Minnesota Law School Scholarship Repository.
4. ^ Lusky, Louis (1982). “Footnote Redux: A “Carolene Products” Reminiscence”. Columbia Law Review. 82 (6): 1093–1109. doi:10.2307/1122160. JSTOR 1122160.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/maf04/13929462317/’]