Opinions & Commentaries

This is a proceeding under § 22-a of the New York Code of Criminal Procedure (L. 1941, c. 925), as amended in 1954 (L. 1954, c. 702). This section supplements the existing conventional criminal provision dealing with pornography by authorizing the chief executive, or legal officer, of a municipality to invoke a "limited injunctive remedy," under closely defined procedural safeguards, against the sale and distribution of written and printed matter found after due trial to be obscene, and to obtain an order for the seizure, in default of surrender, of the condemned publications.[1]

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The Rhode Island Legislature created the "Rhode Island Commission to Encourage Morality in Youth," whose members and Executive Secretary are the appellees herein, and gave the Commission inter alia ". . . the duty . . . to educate the public concerning any book, picture, pamphlet, balled, printed paper or other thing containing obscene, indecent or impure language, or manifestly tending to the corruption of the youth as defined *60 in sections 13, 47, 48 and 49 of chapter 610 of the general laws, as amended, and to investigate and recommend the prosecution of all violations of said sections . . . ."[1] The appellants brought this action in *61 the Superior Court of Rhode Island (1) to declare the law creating the Commission in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and (2) to declare unconstitutional and enjoin the acts and practices of the appellees thereunder. The Superior Court declined to declare the law creating the Commission unconstitutional on its face but granted the appellants an injunction against the acts and practices of the appellees in performance of their duties. The Supreme Court of Rhode Island affirmed the Superior Court with respect to appellants' first prayer but reversed the grant of injunctive relief. ___ R. I. ___, 176 A. 2d 393 (1961).[2] Appellants brought this appeal and we noted probable jurisdiction, 370 U. S. 933.[3]Appellants are four New York publishers of paperback books which have for sometime been widely distributed in Rhode Island. Max Silverstein & Sons is the exclusive wholesale distributor of appellants' publications throughout most of the State. The Commission's practice has been to notify a distributor on official Commission stationery that certain designated books or magazines distributed by him had been reviewed by the Commission and had been declared by a majority of its members to be objectionable for sale, distribution or display to youths under 18 years of age. Silverstein had received at least 35 such notices at the time this suit was brought. Among *62 the paperback books listed by the Commission as "objectionable" were one published by appellant Dell Publishing Co., Inc., and another published by appellant Bantam Books, Inc.[4]The typical notice to Silverstein either solicited or thanked Silverstein, in advance, for his "cooperation" with the Commission, usually reminding Silverstein of the Commission's duty to recommend to the Attorney General prosecution of purveyors of obscenity.[5] Copies of the *63 lists of "objectionable" publications were circulated to local police departments, and Silverstein was so informed in the notices.

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378 U.S. 205 (1964) A QUANTITY OF COPIES OF BOOKS ET AL. v. KANSAS.   No. 449. Supreme Court of United States.   Argued April 1-2, 1964. Decided June 22, 1964. APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF KANSAS.*206 Stanley Fleishman argued the cause for appellants. With him on the briefs was Sam Rosenwein. William M. Ferguson, Attorney General of Kansas, argued the cause for appellee. With him on the brief were Rober E. Hoffman, J. Richard Foth and Richard H. Seaton, Assistant Attorneys General of Kansas, and William Clement. The following State Attorneys General joined in the brief for appellee: […]

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Overruled

383 U.S. 413 (1966) A BOOK NAMED “JOHN CLELAND’S MEMOIRS OF A WOMAN OF PLEASURE” ET AL. v. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MASSACHUSETTS. No. 368. Supreme Court of United States. Argued December 7-8, 1965. Decided March 21, 1966. APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS. *414 Charles Rembar argued the cause and filed briefs for appellants. William I. Cowin, Assistant Attorney General of Massachusetts, argued the cause for appellee. With him on the brief were Edward W. Brooke, Attorney General, and John E. Sullivan, Assistant Attorney General. Charles H. Keating, Jr., and James J. Clancy filed a brief for Citizens […]

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In 1974, respondent Reader's Digest Association, Inc., published a book entitled KGB, the Secret Work of Soviet Agents (KGB), written by respondent John Barron.[1] The book describes the Soviet Union's espionage organization and chronicles its activities since World War II. In a passage referring to disclosures by "royal commissions in Canada and Australia, and official investigations in Great Britain and the United States," the book contains the following statements relating to petitioner Ilya Wolston:

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444 U.S. 507 (1980) SNEPP v. UNITED STATES. No. 78-1871. Supreme Court of United States. Decided February 19, 1980.[*] ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT. PER CURIAM. In No. 78-1871, Frank W. Snepp III seeks review of a judgment enforcing an agreement that he signed when he accepted employment with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He also contends that punitive damages are an inappropriate remedy for the breach of his promise to submit all writings about the Agency for prepublication review. In No. 79-265, the United States conditionally cross […]

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457 U.S. 853 (1982) BOARD OF EDUCATION, ISLAND TREES UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 26, ET AL. v. PICO, BY HIS NEXT FRIEND PICO, ET AL.   No. 80-2043. Supreme Court of United States.   Argued March 2, 1982. Decided June 25, 1982. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT*855 George W. Lipp, Jr., argued the cause for petitioners. With him on the briefs was David S. J. Rubin. Alan H. Levine argued the cause for respondents. With him on the brief were Steven R. Shapiro, Burt Neuborne, Alan Azzara, Bruce J. Ennis, Jr., and […]

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We granted certiorari to decide whether the First Amendment bars enforcement of a statute authorizing closure of a premises found to be used as a place for prostitution and lewdness because the premises are also used as an adult bookstore.

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[††]We have before us two decisions of the Indiana courts, involving the application of that State's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) and Civil Remedies for Racketeering Activity (CRRA) Acts to cases involving bookstores containing allegedly obscene materials.

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