The online News of Australia reports (via Quizlaw) that a New York federal judge has granted a preliminary order preventing the enforcement of a New York City law banning graffiti-writing paraphrenalia — spray paint and broad-tipped markers — from purchase by those under 20 but above 18.
US District Judge George Daniels granted the temporary order pending the outcome of a suit by the artists and backed by fashion designer Marc Ecko.
“It is unreasonable to tell young artists that they have the right to express themselves,” but then place “unreasonable restrictions with regards to their ability to obtain tools to communicate their art“, the judge said.
He said the city had no right “to single out 18- to-20-year-olds,” noting the ban still applied for those under 18.
I would like to know what the legal doctrine was that prohibits “singling out” classes or categories of people from certain behavior — basically what every law does. If it were a regulation, I could see how the distinction could be held to be arbitrary and capricious, but I don’t think that is typically the standard for local ordinances. Still, I haven’t seen the opinion; it’s only a preliminary ruling pending the outcome of the litigation; and it’s hard to place much stock in press reports of judicial rulings. Most reporters, after all, have heads full of mush.
On the other hand, I haven’t seen a federal judge riding the subway in a while, either.