Lebron v. National Railroad Passenger Corp. - Wikipedia

Lebron v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation
Argued November 7, 1994
Decided February 21, 1995
Full case nameMichael A. Lebron, Petitioner v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation
Citations513 U.S. 374 (more)
115 S. Ct. 961; 130 L. Ed. 2d 902; 1995 U.S. LEXIS 909; 63 U.S.L.W. 4109; 95 Cal. Daily Op. Service 1228; 95 Daily Journal DAR 2219; 8 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 564
Case history
PriorOn writ of cert. to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Amtrak is a government actor for the purposes of the First Amendment and is subject to its provisions.
Court membership
Chief Justice
William Rehnquist
Associate Justices
John P. Stevens · Sandra Day O'Connor
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
David Souter · Clarence Thomas
Ruth Bader Ginsburg · Stephen Breyer
Case opinions
MajorityScalia, joined by Rehnquist, Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer
Laws applied
U.S. Const. Amend. I

Lebron v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation, 513 U.S. 374 (1995), is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that Amtrak is a government agency and thus is subject to the First Amendment.


Michael A. Lebron rented a large billboard in Amtrak's Penn Station. The advertisement was highly critical of the Coors Brewing Company for their support of the Contras in Nicaragua. The railroad turned down the ad because it was political, although the particular point of view was not an issue.

The District Court ruled that Amtrak, because of its close ties to the Federal Government, was a Government actor for First Amendment purposes, and that its rejection of the display was unconstitutional. The Court of Appeals reversed, noting that Amtrak was, by the terms of the legislation that created it, not a Government entity, and concluding that the Government was not so involved with Amtrak that the latter's decisions could be considered federal action.[1]


Even though Amtrak is not incorporated as a government agency, it largely functions as one. Similar to the ruling in Burton v. Wilmington Parking Authority, the court found that the public and private entities functioned together to the point where Amtrak was covered by the First Amendment.

Later, in Department of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads, the court held that Amtrak is a governmental entity for purposes of determining the validity of the metrics and standards.


  1. ^ "Lebron v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation, 513 U.S. 374 (1995)".

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