Rosenthal v. New York,
226 U.S. 260 (1912)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Rosenthal v. New York, 226 U.S. 260 (1912)

Rosenthal v. New York

No. 28

Argued November 5, 1912

Decided December 2, 1912

226 U.S. 260


The prohibition of the Fourteenth Amendment against abridgment of privileges or immunities of a citizen of the United States relates only to such privileges and immunities as pertain to citizenship of the United States, as distinguished from state citizenship. Slaughter House Cases, 16 Wall. 36.

Page 226 U. S. 261

A state may, in the exercise of its police power, classify separately particular kinds of personal property which the legislature considers more susceptible of theft than other property.

It is not unreasonable or arbitrary to require dealers in junk to make diligent inquiry to ascertain that persons selling to them wire cable, iron &c. belonging to railroads or telegraph companies have a legal right to do so.

Dealers who provide an important and separate market for a particular class of stolen goods may be put in a class by themselves, and so as to dealers in junk.

One not included in a class established by a police statute or who is not injuriously affected by the classification cannot be heard to attack the statute on the ground that the classification denies equal protection of the law.

A state is not required to go as far as it may in establishing a police regulation; the entire field of proper legislation need not be covered in a single act.

Section 550 of the Penal Code of New York, as amended in 1903, prohibiting dealers in junk from buying wire, copper &c., used by, or belonging to a railroad, telephone, or telegraph company without first ascertaining by diligent inquiry that the person selling had a legal right to do so, is not unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment either as depriving junk dealers of their property without due process of law or denying them equal protection of the law by an arbitrary classification of junk dealers or of the property specified.

Whether a state law is unconstitutional as ex post facto by reason of the construction given it by the state court not considered in this case because no such point was raised in the court below or covered by assignments of error in this Court.

197 N.Y. 394 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of a statute of New York relating to dealers in junk, are stated in the opinion.

Page 226 U. S. 264

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