• Last updated on November 11, 2022

Reaffirming that the states could regulate only “business affected with a public interest,” the Supreme Court overturned a law restricting ticket scalping.

During the 1920’s the New York State legislature passed a statute to protect the public against excessive charges in the resale of theater tickets. By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that the law violated a substantive freedom of enterprise, which was protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.Fourteenth Amendment Justice George Sutherland’sSutherland, George;Tyson v. Banton[Tyson v. Banton] opinion for the majority was based on the theory that government could use its police powerPolice powers only to regulate those businesses that were “affected with a public interest.” Using the narrow definition of such businesses in Wolff Packing Co. v. Court of Industrial Relations[case]Wolff Packing Co. v. Court of Industrial Relations[Wolff Packing Co. v. Court of Industrial Relations] (1923),[case]Wolff Packing Co. v. Court of Industrial Relations[Wolff Packing Co. v. Court of Industrial Relations] Sutherland observed that only a small percentage of the public went to theaters and that the business of selling theater tickets was not an essential service in the economy. The dissenters rejected the idea that only some businesses were of interest to the public, and they argued that state legislatures should be able to use their police powers to regulate any private business to promote the welfare of their citizens. In 1934 the majority of the justices would accept the view of the dissenters in the landmark case of Nebbia v. New York.[case]Nebbia v. New York[Nebbia v. New York][case]Tyson v. Banton[Tyson v. Banton]Business, regulation of;Tyson v. Banton[Tyson v. Banton]

Commerce, regulation of

Ferguson v. Skrupa

Fourteenth Amendment

Legal Tender Cases

Nebbia v. New York

New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann

Police powers

Categories: History Content