United States v. Garbish,
222 U.S. 257 (1911)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Garbish, 222 U.S. 257 (1911)

United States v. Garbish

No. 362

Argued November 7, 1911

Decided December 11, 1911

222 U.S. 257


Under the Act of August 1, 1892, 27 Stat. 340, c. 352, restricting service of laborers employed on public works of the United States to eight hours a day except in cases of extraordinary emergency, the exception does not relate to contemplated emergencies necessarily inhering in the work, or to mere requirements of business convenience or pecuniary advantage, but only those exceeding the common degree.

This Court assumes that Congress uses a phrase in a statute with a consciousness of its meaning and with the intention of conveying such meaning.

A contractor for public works has the statute before him, and can govern himself accordingly. There is no hardship in holding him to its terms.

An intention of Congress to exempt from provisions of a general statute declaring a public policy a conspicuous public work, such as repairing levees of the Mississippi River, would undoubtedly have been expressed, and held that the continuing necessity of prompt completion of the work on such levees cannot be classed as an extraordinary emergency within the meaning of the Eight Hour Law of 1892.

Quaere to what extent the court can take judicial knowledge of necessity for and conditions of a public improvement such as Mississippi River levees.

180 F. 502 reversed.

The facts, which involve the construction of the Federal Eight Hour Labor Law, are stated in the opinion.

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