Regarded as a high water mark of laissez faire capitalism, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1922 nullified a D.C. minimum wage law guaranteeing women hotel and hospital workers at least 34-and-a-half cents an hour or $16.50 a week. Noted nationally, the ruling declared such laws to be an infringement of liberty of contract. The losing lawyer was Felix Frankfurter. The U.S. Supreme Court spurned his 1,000 page brief (maybe that's one reason we now have limits), and agreed with the D.C. Circuit that such laws were unconstitutional - at least until the "switch in time that saved nine" in 1937.

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