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First Amendment Library:
Paul M. Segal


The principal question here is whether, in the District of Columbia, the Constitution of the United States precludes a street railway company from receiving and amplifying radio programs through loudspeakers in its passenger vehicles under the circumstances of this case. *454 The service and equipment of the company are subject to regulation by the Public Utilities Commission of the District of Columbia. The Commission, after an investigation and public hearings disclosing substantial grounds for doing so, has concluded that the radio service is not inconsistent with public convenience, comfort and safety and "tends to improve the conditions under which the public ride." The Commission, accordingly, has permitted the radio service to continue despite vigorous protests from some passengers that to do so violates their constitutional rights. For the reasons hereafter stated, we hold that neither the operation of the service nor the action of the Commission permitting its operation is precluded by the Constitution.