Opinions & Commentaries

Chapter 285 of the Session Laws of Minnesota for the year 1925[1] provides for the abatement, as a public nuisance, of a "malicious, scandalous and defamatory newspaper, *702 magazine or other periodical." Section one of the Act is as follows:"Section 1. Any person who, as an individual, or as a member or employee of a firm, or association or organization, or as an officer, director, member or employee of a corporation, shall be engaged in the business of regularly or customarily producing, publishing or circulating, having in possession, selling or giving away.

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Petitioner challenges on constitutional grounds the validity on its face of that portion of § 155-4[1] of the Municipal Code of the City of Chicago which requires submission of all motion pictures for examination prior to their public exhibition. Petitioner is a New York corporation owning the exclusive right to publicly exhibit in Chicago the film known as "Don Juan." It applied for a permit, as Chicago's ordinance required, and tendered the license fee but refused to submit the film for examination. The appropriate city official refused to issue the permit and his order was made final on appeal to the Mayor. The sole ground for denial was petitioner's refusal to submit the film for examination as required. Petitioner then brought this suit seeking injunctive relief ordering the issuance of the permit without submission of the film and restraining the city officials from interfering with the exhibition of the picture. Its sole ground is that the provision of the ordinance requiring submission of the film constitutes, on its face, a prior restraint within the prohibition of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The District Court dismissed the complaint on the grounds, inter alia, that neither a substantial federal question nor even a justiciable controversy was presented. 180 F. Supp. 843. The Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that the case presented merely an abstract question of law since neither the film nor evidence of its content was submitted. 272 F. 2d 90. The precise question at issue here never having *45 been specifically decided by this Court, we granted certiorari, 362 U. S. 917 (1960).

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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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403 U.S. 713 (1971) NEW YORK TIMES CO. v. UNITED STATES.         No. 1873. Supreme Court of United States.    Argued June 26, 1971 Decided June 30, 1971[*] CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT.Alexander M. Bickel argued the cause for petitioner in No. 1873. With him on the brief were William E. Hegarty and Lawrence J. McKay.Solicitor General Griswold argued the cause for the United States in both cases. With him on the brief were Assistant Attorney General Mardian and Daniel M. Friedman.William R. Glendon argued the cause for respondents in […]

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The Human Relations Ordinance of the City of Pittsburgh (the Ordinance) has been construed below by *378 the courts of Pennsylvania as forbidding newspapers to carry "help-wanted" advertisements in sex-designated columns except where the employer or advertiser is free to make hiring or employment referral decisions on the basis of sex. We are called upon to decide whether the Ordinance as so construed violates the freedoms of speech and of the press guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. This issue is a sensitive one, and a full understanding of the context in which it arises is critical to its resolution.

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The respondent State District Judge entered an order restraining the petitioners from publishing or broadcasting accounts of confessions or admissions made by the accused or facts "strongly implicative" of the accused in a widely reported murder of six persons. We granted certiorari to decide whether the entry of such an order on the showing made before the state court violated the constitutional guarantee of freedom of the press.

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430 U.S. 308 (1977) OKLAHOMA PUBLISHING CO. v. DISTRICT COURT IN AND FOR OKLAHOMA COUNTY, OKLAHOMA, ET AL.   No. 76-867. Supreme Court of United States.   Decided March 7, 1977. ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF OKLAHOMA.PER CURIAM. A pretrial order entered by the District Court of Oklahoma County enjoined members of the news media from “publishing, broadcasting, or disseminating, in any manner, the name or picture of [a] minor child” in connection with a juvenile proceeding involving that child then pending in that court. On application for prohibition and mandamus challenging the order […]

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This case presents the issue whether parties to civil litigation have a First Amendment right to disseminate, in advance of trial, information gained through the pretrial discovery process.

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We granted certiorari to decide whether petitioner has a First Amendment right of access to the transcript of a preliminary hearing growing out of a criminal prosecution.

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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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February 15, 2017

Collectively, this bundle of rights, largely developed by U.S. Supreme Court decisions, defines the “freedom of the press” guaranteed by the First Amendment. What we mean by the freedom of the press is, in fact, an evolving concept. It is a concept that is informed by the perceptions of those who crafted the press clause in an era of pamphlets, political tracts and periodical newspapers, and by the views of Supreme Court justices who have interpreted that clause over the past two centuries in a world of daily newspapers, books, magazines, motion pictures, radio and television broadcasts, and internet content.

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June 15, 1917

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March 3, 1911

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