Constitutionality Of the Wisconsin statute


Of the Wisconsin statute

                As pointed out in the 1876 case of Munn vs. Illinois (94 U.S. 113), “every statute is presumed to be constitutional. The courts ought not to declare one to be unconstitutional, unless it is clearly so. If there is doubt, the expressed will of the legislature should be sustained”. It becomes apparent that in the absence of any proof showing a taint of irregularity or illegality in the codification of a statute, then the law would have to be respected and upheld as valid.  Hence, in determining whether or not a particular statute is in violation of the supreme law of the land entails the examination of various factors which includes the goal sought to be achieved by the statute and the means employed by the law in order for that end to be achieved.

            The creation of laws is an inherent power of every government. Naturally, for a community to survive, its people need to follow a certain set of regulations for them to be able to function normally. As correctly stated, “under these powers the government regulates the conduct of its citizens one towards another, and the manner in which each shall use his own property, when such regulation becomes necessary for the public good” (94 U.S. 113). It is noteworthy that laws exist in every community to further the interests of the citizens. Jurisprudence would dictate that a law is valid and constitutional if the primordial purpose for its creation is the benefit of the public. The examination, however, does not end there. In seeking to protect the interests of the public, the government, through laws, should also make sure that it uses reasonable means in achieving their goal. Hence, regardless of how noble the intention of the lawmakers is to protect the interests of the citizens, if the means employed to achieve the purpose is arbitrary and unreasonable, then the law would have some taint of invalidity.

            In the case of the Wisconsin statue requiring the dairy farmers to take a special 4-week course, it cannot be denied that the law simply seeks to protect the welfare of the State and its people. By requiring farmers to take the course, it is ensured that the farmers are equipped with necessary knowledge in their field. In addition, this will help their State in better selling their products to nearby places for it to earn more revenue. It is believed that to require the dairy farmers to attend the course is not considered unreasonable, and therefore not a ground to declare that part of the statute as invalid.

            Attention must be directed, however, to that part of the statute which limits the number of hours in any given day during which a cow may be milked by an employee other than the cow’s owner. There appears no legitimate public interest sought to be served by said provision of the law. So also, it is believed that to impose such a requirement is unreasonable and too burdensome especially on the part of cow owners who would prefer to hire other workers for purposes of milking the cow. Hence, under the premise that a law must have a valid purpose and the means employed to achieve the purpose must be reasonable, the part of the statute restricting the number of hours during which a cow may be milked by a person other than the cow’s owner must be struck down as invalid for being in violation of the Constitution.