Poultry Co. Upsets Nra Code System
Menu JTA Search

Poultry Co. Upsets Nra Code System

Download PDF for this date

A decision of far-reaching importance demolishing the code system set up under the National Industrial Recovery Act was handed down by the Supreme Court today on the basis of the appeal of the Schechter Brothers—Joseph, Martin, Alex and Aaron—Brooklyn wholesalers of kosher poultry, from a conviction under the Live Poultry Code for the metropolitan area.

In a long-awaited decision which affects a large part of the New Deal legislation, the Supreme Court declared that under the Constitution, Congress has no right to delegate to the President the legislative powers of creating codes and that, further, the Schechter brothers’ poultry business was not interstate commerce and not there fore subject to the control of the federal government.


The case involved appeals by both the government and the Schechter brothers. The administration was seeking reversal of the decision of the Circuit Court of Appeals overruling the conviction of the four brothers on minimum wage and hour provisions, and the Schechters were seeking a Supreme Court ruling annulling the original convictions on seventeen other counts in the live poultry code.

The decision served to set aside fines and convictions against the Schechter brothers.

The four Jewish brothers and two corporations, the A.L.A. Schechter Live Poultry Corporation and the Schechter Live Poultry Market, Inc., were first drawn into the case which was later to test the whole NRA set-up, when they allegedly disregarded provisions of the live poultry code in regard to rules for fair competition, minimum wages and maximum hours.


As a result they were haled into Brooklyn Federal Court on indictments containing sixty counts. The four brothers were charged with selling diseased poultry, slaughtering fowl by illegal methods, coercing and intimidating NRA inspectors and failing to post prices. The

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund