Injustices by Ian Millhiser

book cover featuring large gavelInjustices: The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted

I knew this was a book I wanted to read after seeing the author and Jon Stewart talk about it on The Daily Show. It exceeds my expectations in detail (lots of footnotes to love) and excellent flowing prose. Though I often kept reading because the text moved along like any good story, I found myself stopping to look up more information about people or events discussed on the Internet

Finally I just started putting bookmarks for passages to return to for rereading. A sentence on page 72 struck me in particular: “the states were, in the words of the Founding Fathers, “separately incompetent” to address the problem of children in the workplace.”

This comment is in a chapter on child labor (exploitation). States in the North would ban child labor or restrict to, say an 8 hour day for 16 year-olds. In response, companies moved business to the Southern states where no rules existed and they could pay the children even less.

So long as one state permitted such exploitation of children, it would remain a haven for investors seeking to profit off of cheap child workers, and those investors would retain significant influence over the state legislators.” (p. 71)

Imagine this, an outright ban against child labor could not be passed by Congress because the businesses had so much influence even then. A somewhat indirect approach finally yielded some restrictions but not until 1916!

I was horrified the conditions Mr. Millhizer describes were ongoing even after this weak tea legislation. And it was not that long ago!

Everyone who likes a good book and wonders how we got to this wretched state of affairs with the Supreme Court needs to read this book so that additional actions may be taken to prevent such severe miscarriages of justice like what we have with Citizen’s United and Hobby Lobby!

(buying book so will have time to fill out more later since had to return to library)

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