Reitz v. Mealey
314 U.S. 33 (1941)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Reitz v. Mealey, 314 U.S. 33 (1941)

Reitz v. Mealey

No. 21

Reargued October 22, 1941

Decided November 10, 1941

314 U.S. 33

Syllabus

1. Section 94-b of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of New York, as originally enacted, provides that one against whom a judgment is rendered for injury resulting from the operation of a motor car and who fails to pay it within a time designated, shall have his license and registration suspended for three years, unless in the meantime the judgment is satisfied or discharged, except by discharge in bankruptcy, and that the suspension shall persist, after the three years or the satisfaction of the judgment, and until the licensee gives proof of his ability to respond in damages by the procurement of insurance, the giving of a bond, or the posting of a deposit. Held consistent with due process of law, and not in derogation of the Bankruptcy Act. P. 314 U. S. 36.

2. The amendment of § 94-b, supra, by the Act of May 4, 1936, N.Y.Laws, c. 448, which provides that,

"if the creditor consents in writing, the debtor may be allowed a license and registration for six months from the date of such consent and thereafter until the consent is revoked in writing, if proof of ability to respond to damages is furnished,"

is not inconsistent with due process of law. P. 314 U. S. 37.

3. Assuming that amendments of § 94-b, supra, by N.Y.Laws, 1936, c. 448, id.1939, c. 618, are contrary to the Bankruptcy Act because of the power they purport to give the judgment creditor over the license of the debtor who has been discharged in bankruptcy, the amendments are severable, and their invalidity would not affect proceedings based entirely on the original statute. P. 314 U. S. 38.

4. Under the law of New York, a statute, in itself constitutional, is not affected by an unconstitutional amendment. P. 314 U. S. 38.

5. Whether an amendment stands by itself as an independent enactment, or is incorporated in the setting of the act which it amends, by a provision that the act "shall read as follows:" is a matter of draftsmanship or legislative mechanics. It does not touch the substance of constitutionality. P. 314 U. S. 39.

34 F.Supp. 532 affirmed.

Page 314 U. S. 34

Appeal from a decree of the District Court of three judges dismissing a bill to enjoin the above-named Commissioner from suspending the plaintiff appellant's automobile driving license. The hearing below was on bill and answer. The decree was affirmed here by an equally divided Court, 313 U.S. 542; subsequently, a petition for rehearing was granted, the judgment was vacated, and the case was restored to the docket for reargument, 313 U.S. 597.

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