100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.
Porter L. Brown
Porter L. Brown
The Farmer who Stood up to the State
“The Program is … simply a Means of Controlling the Supply of Raisins”
Parker v. Brown
317 U.S. 341 (1943)
Porter L. Brown was a California raisin farmer—a family farmer of reasonable means who challenged the state's ability to regulate agricultural commodity markets in the midst of the economic fallout from the Great Depression and the New Deal policy response. When Brown's short-term financial interests [Page 25]were threatened by a regulatory program that fixed prices and compelled his participation, he filed suit to challenge its constitutionality. His case epitomized the small farmer's impatience with the politics of market regulation that was transforming agricultural production in the United States.
A fundamental theme of American history and politics is the ...