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4 J. S. Legal Hist. 45 (1995-1996)
Pioneering the Federal Police Power: Champion v. Ames and the Anti-Lottery Act of 1895

handle is hein.journals/jslh4 and id is 53 raw text is: Pioneering the Federal Police Power: Champion
v. Ames and the Anti-Lottery Act of 1895
T he expansion of federal power in the twentieth century,
both absolutely and relative to that of the states, has
required new uses and interpretations of Congress's constitution-
al powers. One important aspect of this constitutional develop-
ment has been the rise of what amounts to a federal police
power. That power, to act for the health, safety, morals, and
welfare of the community, had earlier been regarded as virtually
exclusive to the states. The new federal role sprang from
expanded use of enumerated powers, especially the power to
regulate interstate commerce.
Scholars trace the breakthrough to a five-to-four decision by
the Supreme Court in the case of Champion v. Ames, in which the
Court upheld the constitutionality of an 1895 law that, among
other things, prohibited the use of the instruments of interstate
commerce for lottery tickets, advertising, and the like.' In the
encouraging atmosphere of the Progressive Movement, more
important legislation followed, such as the Meat Inspection Act
of 1906, and the Supreme Court upheld the new laws as constitu-
tional. In 1918 the Court drew the line at federal regulation of
child labor in Hammer v. Dagenhart, but more limited legislation
continued to pass judicial muster, thus continuing the line of
laws and cases that began with Champion. Not until the late New
Deal period did Congress and the courts expand the federal
police power so much that they rendered the Lottery Case, as it.
was quickly called, a no longer vital precedent.
Congress, in adopting an act for the suppression of lottery
tickets through national and interstate commerce subject to the
jurisdiction and laws of the United States, did not anticipate the
*Emeritus Professor of History, University of Hawaii-Manoa. Recent
publication: Reconciliation and Revival: James R. Mann and the House Republicans
in the Wilson Era (Greenwood Press, 1996).

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