In Milk Wagon Drivers Union v. Meadowmoor Dairies, ante, p. 287, we held that acts of picketing when blended with violence may have a significance which neutralizes the constitutional immunity which such acts would have in isolation. When we took this case, 310 U.S. 620, it seemed to present a similar problem. More thorough study of the record and full argument have reduced the issue to this: is the constitutional guarantee of freedom of discussion infringed by the common law policy of a state forbidding resort to peaceful persuasion through picketing merely because there is no immediate employer-employee dispute?

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In October, 1935, the petitioner discharged Morris Watson, an employee in its New York office. The American Newspaper Guild, a labor organization, filed a charge with the Board alleging that Watson's discharge was in violation of § 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, which confers on employees the right to organize, to form, join, or assist labor organizations to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing and to engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection; that the petitioner had engaged in unfair labor practices contrary to subsections (1) and (3) of § 8 by interfering with, restraining, or coercing Watson in the exercise of the rights guaranteed him by § 7, and by discriminating against him in respect of his tenure of employment and discouraging his membership in a labor organization.

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Newton Cantwell and his two sons, Jesse and Russell, members of a group known as Jehovah's witnesses, and claiming to be ordained ministers, were arrested in New Haven, Connecticut, and each was charged by information in five counts, with statutory and common law offenses. After trial each of them was convicted of the common law offense of inciting a breach of the peace. On appeal to the Connecticut Supreme Court the conviction of Jesse Cantwell was affirmed, but the conviction of Newton and Russell on that count was reversed and a new trial ordered as to them.

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This case presents the question whether regulations embodied in a municipal ordinance abridge the freedom of speech or of the press secured against state invasion by the Fourteenth Amendment.[1]

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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, Dirk De Jonge, was indicted in Multnomah County, Oregon, for violation of the Criminal Syndicalism Law of that State.[1] The Act, which we set forth in *357 the margin, defines "criminal syndicalism" as "the doctrine which advocates crime, physical violence, sabotage or any unlawful acts or methods as a means of accomplishing or effecting industrial or political change or revolution." With this preliminary definition the Act proceeds to describe a number of offenses, embracing the teaching of criminal syndicalism, the printing or distribution of books, pamphlets, etc., advocating that doctrine, the organization of a society or assemblage which advocates it, and presiding at or assisting in conducting a meeting of such an organization, society or group. The prohibited acts are made felonies, punishable by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years, or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or by both.

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236 U.S. 273 35 S.Ct. 383 59 L.Ed. 573 JAY FOX, Plff. in Err.,v.STATE OF WASHINGTON. No. 134. Submitted January 19, 1915. Decided February 23, 1915. Mr. Gilbert E. Roe for plaintiff in error. [Argument of Counsel from page 274 intentionally omitted] Mr. W. V. Tanner, Attorney General of Washington, and Mr. Fred G. Remann, for defendant in error. Mr. Justice Holmes delivered the opinion of the court: 1 This is an information for editing printed matter tending to encourage and advocate disrespect for law, contrary to a statute of Washington. The statute is as follows: ‘Every person who shall […]

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The defendants, Samuel Gompers, John Mitchell and Frank Morrison, were found guilty of contempt of court in making certain publications prohibited by an injunction from the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. They were sentenced to imprisonment for twelve, nine and six months respectively, and this proceeding is prosecuted to reverse that judgment.

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This case pertained to the sale of information on the activities of Japanese-Americans citizens and Japanese residents to Soviet Union intelligence agent Mihail Gorin.

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307 U.S. 496 59 S.Ct. 954 83 L.Ed. 1423 HAGUE, Mayor, et al., v. COMMITTEE FOR INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATION et al. No. 651. Argued Feb. 27, 28, 1939. Decided June 5, 1939. [Syllabus from pages 496-500 intentionally omitted] Messrs. Charles Hershenstein, Edward J. O’Mara, and James A. Hamill, all of Jersey City, N.J., for petitioners. Messrs. Morris L. Ernst. of New York City, and Spaulding Frazer, of Newark, N.J., for respondents. Mr. Justice BUTLER: The judgment of the court in this case is that the decree is modified and as modified affirmed. Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER and Mr. Justice DOUGLAS took no […]

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A California state law required University of California students to take a course in military science and tactics, the validity of which was by the appellants challenged as repugnant to the Constitution and laws of the United States. The appellants are the above-named minors and the fathers of each as his guardian ad litem and individually. These minors are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and of the Epworth League and connected religious societies and organizations. Appellants, as members of that church, accept and feel themselves morally, religiously, and conscientiously bound by its tenets and discipline, and holds as a part of his religious and conscientious belief that war, training for war, and military training are immoral, wrong, and contrary to the letter and spirit of His teaching and the precepts of the Christian religion. These students, at the beginning of the fall term in 1933, petitioned the University for exemption from military training and participation in the activities of the training corps upon the ground of their religious and conscientious objection to war and to military training. Their petition was denied. They petitioned the regents that military training be made optional, which the regents refused to do. Then, because of their religious and conscientious objections, they declined to take the prescribed course, and, solely upon that ground, the regents, by formal notification, suspended them from the University, but with leave to apply for readmission at any time conditioned upon their ability and willingness to comply with all applicable regulations of the University governing the matriculation and attendance of students. The University afforded opportunity for education such as could not be had at any other institution in California except at a greater cost which these minors were not able to pay. They were also willing to take as a substitute for military training such other courses as may be prescribed by the University.

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The appellant claims his conviction in a state court deprived him of his liberty contrary to the guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment. He assigns as error the action of the Supreme Court of Georgia in overruling his claim and refusing him a discharge upon habeas corpus. The petition for the writ, presented to the Superior Court of Fulton County, asserted the appellant was unlawfully detained by the appellee as sheriff under the supposed authority of a judgment pronouncing him guilty of attempting to incite insurrection, as defined in § 56 of the Penal Code, and sentencing him to imprisonment *244 for not less than eighteen nor more than twenty years. Attached were copies of the judgment and the indictment and a statement of the evidence upon which the verdict and judgment were founded. The petition alleged the judgment and sentence were void and appellant's detention illegal because the statute under which he was convicted denies and illegally restrains his freedom of speech and of assembly and is too vague and indefinite to provide a sufficiently ascertainable standard of guilt, and further alleged that there had been no adjudication by any court of the constitutional validity of the statute as applied to appellant's conduct. A writ issued. The appellee answered, demurred specially to, and moved to strike, so much of the petition as incorporated the evidence taken at the trial. At the hearing the statement of the evidence was identified and was conceded by the appellee to be full and accurate. The court denied the motion to strike, overruled the special demurrer and an objection to the admission of the trial record, decided that the statute, as construed and applied in the trial of the appellant, did not infringe his liberty of speech and of assembly but ran afoul of the Fourteenth Amendment because too vague and indefinite to provide a sufficiently ascertainable standard of guilt, and ordered the prisoner's discharge from custody. The appellee took the case to the Supreme Court of Georgia, assigning as error the ruling upon his demurrer, motion, and objection, and the decision against the validity of the statute. The appellant, in accordance with the state practice, also appealed, assigning as error the decision with respect to his right of free speech and of assembly. The two appeals were separately docketed but considered in a single opinion which reversed the judgment on the appellee's appeal and affirmed on that of the appellant,[1] concluding: "Under *245 the pleadings and the evidence, which embraced the record on the trial that resulted in the conviction, the court erred, in the habeas corpus proceeding, in refusing to remand the prisoner to the custody of the officers."

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The Post Office Appropriation Act of August 24, 1912, 37 Stat. 539, 553, 554, c. 389, in § 2, contains the following:"SEC. 2. . . . That it shall be the duty of the editor, publisher, business manager, or owner of every newspaper, magazine, periodical, or other publication to file with the Postmaster General and the postmaster at the office at which said publication is entered, not later than the first day of April and the first day of October of each year, on blanks furnished by the Post Office Department, a sworn statement setting forth the names and post-office addresses of the editor and managing editor, publisher, business managers, and owners, and, in addition, the stockholders, if the publication be owned by a corporation; and also the names of known bondholders, mortgagees, or other security holders; and also, in the case of daily newspapers, there shall be included in such statement the average of the number of copies of each issue of such publication sold or distributed to paid subscribers during the preceding six months: Provided, That the provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to religious, fraternal, temperance, and scientific, or other similar publications: Provided further, That it shall not be necessary to include in such statement the names of persons owning less than one per centum of the total amount of stock, bonds, mortgages, or other securities. A copy of such sworn statement shall be published in the second issue of such newspaper, magazine, or other publication printed *297 next after the filing of such statement. Any such publication shall be denied the privileges of the mail if it shall fail to comply with the provisions of this paragraph within ten days after notice by registered letter of such failure.

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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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The supreme court of Illinois sustained an injunction against the Milk Wagon Drivers Union over the latter's claim that it involved an infringement of the freedom of speech guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Since this ruling raised a question intrinsically important, as well as affecting the scope of Thornhill v. Alabama, 310 U.S. 88, and Carlson v. California, 310 U.S. 106, we brought the case here. 310 U.S. 655.

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Overruled

Lillian Gobitis, aged twelve, and her brother William, aged ten, were expelled from the public schools of Minersville, Pennsylvania, for refusing to salute the national flag as part of a daily school exercise. The local Board of Education required both teachers and pupils to participate in this ceremony. The Gobitis family are affiliated with "Jehovah's Witnesses," for whom the Bible as the Word of God is the supreme authority. The children had been brought up conscientiously to believe that such a gesture of respect for the flag was forbidden by command of Scripture. The Gobitis children were of an age for which Pennsylvania makes school attendance compulsory. Thus, they were denied a free education, and their parents had to put them into private schools. To be relieved of the financial burden thereby entailed, their father, on behalf of the children and in his own behalf, brought this suit.

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Overruled

Complainant directs its argument to three propositions: (1) The statute in controversy imposes an unlawful burden on interstate commerce; (2) it violates the freedom of speech and publication guaranteed by § 11, art. 1, of the constitution of the State of Ohio;[1] and (3) it attempts to delegate legislative power to censors and to other boards to determine whether the statute offends in the particulars designated.

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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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Four cases are here, each of which presents the question whether regulations embodied in a municipal ordinance *154 abridge the freedom of speech and of the press secured against state invasion by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.[1]

No. 13.

The Municipal Code of the City of Los Angeles, 1936, provides:"Sec. 28.00. `Hand-Bill' shall mean any hand-bill, dodger, commercial advertising circular, folder, booklet, letter, card, pamphlet, sheet, poster, sticker, banner, notice or other written, printed or painted matter calculated to attract attention of the public.""Sec. 28.01. No person shall distribute any hand-bill to or among pedestrians along or upon any street, sidewalk or park, or to passengers on any street car, or throw, place or attach any hand-bill in, to, or upon any automobile or other vehicle."The appellant was charged in the Municipal Court with a violation of § 28.01. Upon his trial it was proved that he distributed handbills to pedestrians on a public sidewalk and had more than three hundred in his possession for that purpose. Judgment of conviction was entered and sentence imposed. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County affirmed the judgment.[2] That court being the highest court in the State authorized to pass upon such a case, an appeal to this court was allowed.

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This case presents the question whether the provisions of the Wisconsin Labor Code which authorize giving publicity to labor disputes, declare peaceful picketing and patrolling lawful and prohibit granting of an injunction against such conduct, violate, as here construed and applied, the due process clause or equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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