Opinions & Commentaries

Appellant, Alma Lovell, was convicted in the Recorder's Court of the City of Griffin, Georgia, of the violation of a city ordinance and was sentenced to imprisonment for fifty days in default of the payment of a fine of fifty dollars. The violation, which is not denied, consisted of the distribution without the required permission of a pamphlet and magazine in the nature of religious tracts, setting forth the gospel of the "Kingdom of Jehovah." Appellant did not apply for a permit, as she regarded herself as sent "by Jehovah to do His work," and that such an application would have been "an act of disobedience to His commandment."

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Appellants are five "Jehovah's Witnesses" who, with sixty-three others of the same persuasion, were convicted in the municipal court of Manchester, New Hampshire, for violation of a state statute prohibiting a "parade or *571 procession" upon a public street without a special license.

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Appellant, Rose Staub, was convicted in the Mayor's Court of the City of Baxley, Georgia, of violation of a city ordinance and was sentenced to imprisonment for 30 days or to pay a fine of $300. The Superior Court of the county affirmed the judgment of conviction; the Court of Appeals of the State affirmed the judgment of the Superior Court, 94 Ga. App. 18, 93 S. E. 2d 375; and the Supreme Court of the State denied an application for certiorari. The case comes here on appeal.

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Appellant sought to challenge the constitutionality of the Maryland motion picture censorship statute, Md. Ann. Code, 1957, Art. 66A, and exhibited the film "Revenge at Daybreak" at his Baltimore theatre without first submitting the picture to the State Board of Censors as required by § 2 thereof.[1] The State concedes that the picture does not violate the statutory standards[2] and *53 would have received a license if properly submitted, but the appellant was convicted of a § 2 violation despite his contention that the statute in its entirety unconstitutionally impaired freedom of expression. The Court of Appeals of Maryland affirmed, 233 Md. 498, 197 A. 2d 232, and we noted probable jurisdiction, 377 U. S. 987. We reverse.

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On Wednesday, April 10, 1963, officials of Birmingham, Alabama, filed a bill of complaint in a state circuit court asking for injunctive relief against 139 individuals and *309 two organizations. The bill and accompanying affidavits stated that during the preceding seven days:

"[R]espondents [had] sponsored and/or participated in and/or conspired to commit and/or to encourage and/or to participate in certain movements, plans or projects commonly called `sit-in' demonstrations, `kneel-in' demonstrations, mass street parades, trespasses on private property after being warned to leave the premises by the owners of said property, congregating in mobs upon the public streets and other public places, unlawfully picketing private places of business in the City of Birmingham, Alabama; violation of numerous ordinances and statutes of the City of Birmingham and State of Alabama . . . ."
It was alleged that this conduct was "calculated to provoke breaches of the peace," "threaten[ed] the safety, peace and tranquility of the City," and placed "an undue burden and strain upon the manpower of the Police Department."The bill stated that these infractions of the law were expected to continue and would "lead to further imminent danger to the lives, safety, peace, tranquility and general welfare of the people of the City of Birmingham," and that the "remedy by law [was] inadequate." The circuit judge granted a temporary injunction as prayed in the bill, enjoining the petitioners from, among other things, participating in or encouraging mass street parades or mass processions without a permit as required by a Birmingham ordinance.[1]*310 Five of the eight petitioners were served with copies of the writ early the next morning. Several hours later four of them held a press conference. There a statement was distributed, declaring their intention to disobey the injunction because it was "raw tyranny under the guise of maintaining law and order."[2] At this press conference one of the petitioners stated: "That they had respect for the Federal Courts, or Federal Injunctions, but in the past the State Courts had favored local law enforcement, and if the police couldn't handle it, the mob would."That night a meeting took place at which one of the petitioners announced that "[i]njunction or no injunction we are going to march tomorrow." The next afternoon, Good Friday, a large crowd gathered in the vicinity of Sixteenth Street and Sixth Avenue North in Birmingham. A group of about 50 or 60 proceeded to parade along the sidewalk while a crowd of 1,000 to 1,500 onlookers stood by, "clapping, and hollering, and [w]hooping." *311 Some of the crowd followed the marchers and spilled out into the street. At least three of the petitioners participated in this march.

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390 U.S. 139 (1968) TEITEL FILM CORP. ET AL. v. CUSACK ET AL., MEMBERS OF THE MOTION PICTURE APPEAL BOARD OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO.   No. 787. Supreme Court of United States.   Decided January 29, 1968. APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS.Elmer Gertz and Leon N. Miller for appellants. Raymond F. Simon and Marvin E. Aspen for appellees. PER CURIAM. This appeal seeks review of judgments of the Supreme Court of Illinois which affirmed orders of the Circuit Court of Cook County permanently enjoining the appellants from showing certain motion pictures in public places in the City […]

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Petitioners are identified with a "white supremacist" organization called the National States Rights Party. They held a public assembly or rally near the courthouse steps in the town of Princess Anne, the county seat of Somerset County, Maryland, in the evening of August 6, 1966. The authorities did not attempt to interfere with the rally. Because of the tense atmosphere which developed as the meeting progressed, about 60 state policemen were brought in, including some from a nearby county. They were held in readiness, but for tactical reasons only a few were in evidence at the scene of the rally.

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We granted the writ in this case to consider the claim that an order of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, enjoining petitioners from distributing leaflets anywhere in the town of Westchester, Illinois, violates petitioners' rights under the Federal Constitution.

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The issue in this case is whether First Amendment rights were abridged when respondents denied petitioner the use of a municipal facility in Chattanooga, Tenn., for the showing of the controversial rock musical "Hair." It is established, of course, that the Fourteenth Amendment has made applicable to the States the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech. Douglas v. City of Jeannette, 319 U. S. 157, 162 (1943).

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445 U.S. 308 (1980) VANCE ET AL. v. UNIVERSAL AMUSEMENT CO., INC., ET AL.   No. 78-1588. Supreme Court of United States.   Argued November 28, 1979. Decided March 18, 1980. APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT.Lonny F. Zwiener, Assistant Attorney General of Texas, argued the cause for appellants. With him on the brief were Mark White, Attorney General, John W. Fainter, Jr., First Assistant Attorney General, Ted L. Hartley, and Douglas B. Owen and Gerald C. Carruth, Assistant Attorneys General. Frierson M. Graves, Jr., argued the cause for appellees and filed a brief […]

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493 U.S. 215 (1990) FW/PBS, INC., DBA PARIS ADULT BOOKSTORE II, ET AL. v. CITY OF DALLAS ET AL.     No. 87-2012. Supreme Court of United States.    Argued October 4, 1989 Decided January 9, 1990[*] CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT*219 John H. Weston argued the cause for petitioners in all cases. With him on the briefs for petitioners in No. 87-2051 were G. Randall Garrou, Cathy E. Crosson, and Richard L. Wilson. Arthur M. Schwartz filed briefs for petitioners in No. 87-2012. Frank P. Hernandez filed a brief for petitioners in […]

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After a full criminal trial, petitioner Ferris J. Alexander, owner of more than a dozen stores and theaters dealing in sexually explicit materials, was convicted on, inter alia, 17 obscenity counts and 3 counts of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The obscenity convictions, based on the jury's findings that four magazines and three videotapes sold at several of petitioner's stores were obscene, served as the predicates for his three RICO convictions. In addition to imposing a prison term and fine, the District Court ordered petitioner to forfeit, pursuant to 18 U. S. C. § 1963 (1988 ed. and Supp. III), certain assets that were directly related to his racketeering activity as punishment for his RICO violations. Petitioner argues that this forfeiture violated the First and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution. We reject petitioner's *547 claims under the First Amendment but remand for reconsideration of his Eighth Amendment challenge.

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