Thursday, November 14, 2013

Railway Express Agency, Inc. v. New York case brief

Railway Express Agency, Inc. v. New York case brief summary
336 U.S. 106 (1949)

Appellant business owner was convicted and fined for violating New York City, N.Y., Traf. Reg. §124. The conviction was sustained by the Court of Appeals of New York, and the business owner sought review.

The business owner was engaged in a nation-wide express business and operated about 1,900 trucks in New York City. It sold the space on the exterior sides of the trucks for advertising, which, for the most part, was unconnected with its own business. The business was convicted in the magistrate's court of violating § 124, which prohibited the operation of an advertising vehicle except where such vehicles were engaged in the usual business of the owner and not used mainly for advertising.

The business owner appealed, arguing that the regulation's aim and purpose did not justify unequal treatment on the basis of such a distinction and that the classification had no relation to the traffic problem because a violation turned not on what kind of advertisements were carried on trucks, but on whose trucks they were carried.


  • The Court held that if the classification was related to the purpose for which it was made, then it did not contain the kind of discrimination against which the Equal Protection Clause afforded protection. 
  • Therefore, the court affirmed the lower court's judgment.

The Court affirmed the lower court's decision.

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