Legislatures have wide discretion in regulating “im-moral” activities. Thus, legislation suppressing prostitution370 or gambling371 will be upheld by the Court as within the police power of a state. Accordingly, a state statute may provide that judgment against a party to recover illegal gambling winnings may be enforced by a lien on the property of the owner of the building where the gambling transaction was conducted when the owner knowingly consented to the gambling.372 Similarly, a court may order a car used in an act of prostitution forfeited as a public nuisance, even if this works a deprivation on an innocent joint owner of the car.373 For the same reason, lotteries, including those operated under a legislative grant, may be forbidden, regardless of any particular equities.374


L’Hote v. New Orleans, 177 U.S. 587 (1900). [Back to text]
Ah Sin v. Wittman, 198 U.S. 500 (1905). [Back to text]
Marvin v. Trout, 199 U.S. 212 (1905). [Back to text]
Bennis v. Michigan, 516 U.S. 442 (1996). [Back to text]
Stone v. Mississippi, 101 U.S. 814 (1880); Douglas v. Kentucky, 168 U.S. 488 (1897). [Back to text]