That which belongs to the citizen in the sense of property, and as such has to him a commercial value, cannot be pronounced worthless or pernicious, and so destroyed or deprived of its essential attributes.
Plaintiff was a bar owner, and was arrested for selling liquor, in violation of a newly passed prohibition statute. The plaintiff claimed that he was being denied his right to dispose of his property as he saw fit, because he had bought the liquor before the statute was passed. The lower courts ruled against plaintiff, and the plaintiff appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeals.
Whether plaintiff had been deprived of his right to dispose of his property as he saw fit.
Yes, plaintiff had been deprived of his right to dispose of his property as he saw fit.
In ruling for the plaintiff and reversing his conviction, the Court held that New York State could not declare worthless or illegal that property which the State had previously declared worth money - doing so was a violation of the plaintiff's Constitutional rights.