Barsky v. Board of Regents,
347 U.S. 442 (1954)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Barsky v. Board of Regents, 347 U.S. 442 (1954)

Barsky v. Board of Regents of the University

of the State of New York

No. 69

Argued January 4, 1954

Decided April 26, 1954

347 U.S. 442


Pursuant to §§ 6514 and 6515 of the New York State Education Law, authorizing disciplinary action against any physician "convicted in a court of competent jurisdiction, either within or without this state, of a crime," appellant's license to practice as a physician was suspended for six months because he had been convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, under 2 U.S.C. § 192, of failing to produce before a Congressional Committee certain papers subpoenaed by that Committee.

Held: the New York law, on its face or as so construed and applied, does not violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 347 U. S. 443-456.

(a) The decision of the highest state court that a violation of 2 U.S.C. § 192, though not a crime under New York law, was a "crime" within the meaning of § 6514-2(b) of the State Education Law, is conclusive here. P. 347 U. S. 448.

(b) Section 6514-2(b) is not unconstitutionally vague. P. 347 U. S. 448.

(c) The subsequent designation of certain other contempts of Congress as federal "crimes" (18 U.S.C. § 402) does not prevent a violation of 2 U.S.C. § 192 from being a "crime" within the meaning of the New York law. P. 449, n 8.

(d) The establishment and enforcement of standards of conduct within its borders relative to the health of its people is a vital part of a state's police power. P. 347 U. S. 449.

(e) The practice of medicine is a privilege granted by the State under its substantially plenary power to fix the terms of admission. P. 347 U. S. 451.

(f) A state's legitimate concern for maintaining high standards of professional conduct extends beyond initial licensing. P. 347 U. S. 451.

(g) The suspension of appellant's license because of his conviction in a foreign jurisdiction, for an offense not involving moral turpitude and not criminal under New York law, does not so far transcend the State's legitimate concern in professional standards as to violate the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 347 U. S. 451-452.

Page 347 U. S. 443

(h) The provisions of § 6515 of the State Education Law prescribing the procedure for disciplinary action are, on their face, reasonable and satisfy the requirements of due process. Pp. 347 U. S. 452-453.

(i) The record in this case does not support a conclusion that the Board of Regents, in fixing the measure of discipline at a six months' suspension of appellant's license as a physician, made an arbitrary or capricious decision or relied upon irrelevant evidence. Pp. 347 U. S. 453-456.

305 N.Y. 89, 691, 111 N.E.2d 222, 112 N.E.2d 773, affirmed.

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