Tyson & Brother v. Banton 273 U.S. 418 (1927)

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TYSON & BROTHER v. BANTON 273 U.S. 418 (1927)

Citing Chief Justice william howard taft's opinion in wolff packing company v. court of industrial relations (1923), Justice george sutherland found unconstitutional a New York statute regulating ticket "scalpers." The state based the law on a declaration that theater prices were affected with a public interest, but because the theater business did not fit Taft's categories, the law fell as a violation of freedom of contract and a denial of due process of law.

Justice oliver wendell holmes dissented: "a state legislature may do whatever it sees fit to do unless it is restrained by some express prohibition in the [federal or state] constitution." Justice louis d. brandeis joined him and Justice harlan fiske stone wrote a separate dissent. All three urged rejection of the public interest concept—"a fiction intended to beautify what is disagreeable to the sufferers"—in favor of state regulation wherever the public welfare demanded it.

David Gordon

(see also: New State Ice Company v. Liebmann; Ribnik v. McBride.)