Majority Opinions Authored by Justice William Brennan

This case originated in companion suits by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Inc. (NAACP), and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (Defense Fund), brought in 1957 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The suits sought to restrain the enforcement of Chapters 31, 32, 33, 35 and 36 of the Virginia Acts of Assembly, 1956 Extra Session, on the ground that the *418 statutes, as applied to the activities of the plaintiffs, violated the Fourteenth Amendment. A three-judge court convened pursuant to 28 U. S. C. ง 2281, after hearing evidence and making fact-findings, struck down Chapters 31, 32 and 35 but abstained from passing upon the validity of Chapters 33 and 36 pending an authoritative interpretation of these statutes by the Virginia courts.[1] The complainants thereupon petitioned in the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond to declare Chapters 33 and 36 inapplicable to their activities, or, if applicable, unconstitutional. The record in the Circuit Court was that made before the three-judge court supplemented by additional evidence. The Circuit Court held the chapters to be both applicable and constitutional. The holding was sustained by the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals as to Chapter 33, but reversed as to Chapter 36, which was held unconstitutional under both state and federal law.[2] Thereupon the Defense Fund returned to the Federal District Court, where its case is presently pending, while the NAACP filed the instant petition. We granted certiorari, 365 U. S. 842.[3] We heard argument in the 1961 Term *419 and ordered reargument this Term. 369 U. S. 833. Since no cross-petition was filed to review the Supreme Court of Appeals' disposition of Chapter 36, the only issue before us is the constitutionality of Chapter 33 as applied to the activities of the NAACP.There is no substantial dispute as to the facts; the dispute centers about the constitutionality under the Fourteenth Amendment of Chapter 33, as construed and applied by the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to include NAACP's activities within the statute's ban against "the improper solicitation of any legal or professional business."The NAACP was formed in 1909 and incorporated under New York law as a nonprofit membership corporation in 1911. It maintains its headquarters in New York and presently has some 1,000 active unincorporated branches throughout the Nation. The corporation is licensed to do business in Virginia, and has 89 branches there. The Virginia branches are organized into the Virginia State Conference of NAACP Branches (the Conference), an unincorporated association, which in 1957 had some 13,500 members. The activities of the Conference are financed jointly by the national organization and the local branches from contributions and membership dues. NAACP policy, binding upon local branches and conferences, is set by the annual national convention.The basic aims and purposes of NAACP are to secure the elimination of all racial barriers which deprive Negro citizens of the privileges and burdens of equal citizenship rights in the United States. To this end the Association engages in extensive educational and lobbying activities. It also devotes much of its funds and energies to an extensive *420 program of assisting certain kinds of litigation on behalf of its declared purposes. For more than 10 years, the Virginia Conference has concentrated upon financing litigation aimed at ending racial segregation in the public schools of the Commonwealth.

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Under § 8 (b) (4) (ii) (B) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended,[1] it is an unfair labor practice for a union "to threaten, coerce, or restrain any person," with the object of "forcing or requiring any person to cease using, selling, handling, transporting, or otherwise dealing in the products of any other producer. . . or to cease doing business with any other person . . . ." A proviso excepts, however, "publicity, other than picketing, for the purpose of truthfully advising the public . . . that a product or products are produced by an employer with whom the labor organization has a primary dispute and are distributed by another employer, as long as such publicity does not have an effect of inducing any individual employed by any person other than the primary employer in the course of his employment to refuse to pick up, deliver, or transport any goods, or not to perform any services, at the establishment of the employer engaged in such distribution." (Italics supplied.) The question in this case is whether the respondent unions violated this section when they limited their secondary picketing of retail stores to an appeal to the customers of the stores not to buy the products of certain firms against which one of the respondents was on strike.

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Sullivan, a Commissioner of the City of Montgomery, Alabama, brought a civil libel suit against the publisher of the New York Times and four individual black clergymen in Alabama for running an ad in the paper. The ad described police action against student demonstrators and a leader of the civil rights movement. Some of the statements in the ad were false. A lower court found in favor of Sullivan, awarding him damages of $500,000.

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Title I of Pub. L. 93-526, 88 Stat. 1695, note following 44 U. S. C. § 2107 (1970 ed., Supp. V), the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (hereafter Act), directs the Administrator of General Services, an official of the Executive Branch, to take custody of the Presidential papers and tape recordings of appellant, former President Richard M. Nixon, and promulgate regulations that (1) provide for the orderly processing and screening by Executive Branch archivists of such materials for the purpose of returning to appellant those that are personal and private in nature, and (2) determine the terms and conditions upon which public access may eventually be had to those materials that are retained. The question for decision is whether Title I is unconstitutional on its face as a violation of (1) the separation of powers; (2) Presidential privilege doctrines; (3) appellant's privacy interests; (4) appellant's First Amendment associational rights; or (5) the Bill of Attainder Clause.

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This is a church property dispute which arose when two local churches withdrew from a hierarchical general church organization. Under Georgia law the right to the property previously used by the local churches was made to turn on a civil court jury decision as to whether the general church abandoned or departed from the tenets of faith and practice it held at the time the local churches affiliated with it. The question presented is whether the restraints of the First Amendment, as applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment, permit a civil court to award church property on the basis of the interpretation and significance the civil court assigns to aspects of church doctrine.

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These two appeals involve convictions of four appellants for refusal to answer certain questions put to them at sessions of the "Un-American Activities Commission" of the State of Ohio, established in the legislative branch of the Ohio Government.[1] The appellants had claimed the privilege against self-incrimination in refusing to answer each of the questions. The cases are before us for the second time; on prior appeals the judgments below were vacated and the causes remanded for reconsideration in the light of Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U. S. 234, and Watkins v. United States, 354 U. S. 178. See 354 U. S. 929. The remand resulted in a reaffirmance of the prior judgment without discussion, 167 Ohio St. 295, 147 N. E. 2d 847, and on the present appeals we postponed *425 further consideration of the jurisdictional questions presented until the arguments on the merits. 358 U. S. 862, 863.

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The North Carolina Charitable Solicitations Act governs the solicitation of charitable contributions by professional fundraisers. As relevant here, it defines the prima facie "reasonable fee" that a professional fundraiser may charge as a percentage of the gross revenues solicited; requires professional fundraisers to disclose to potential donors the gross percentage of revenues retained in prior charitable solicitations; and requires professional fundraisers to obtain a license before engaging in solicitation. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that these aspects of the Act unconstitutionally infringed upon freedom of speech. We affirm.

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United States Jaycees, a nonprofit national membership corporation with the goal to promote and foster the growth and development of young men’s civic organizations, limited regular membership to young men between 18 and 35 years old. Associate membership was open to those ineligible for regular membership, such as women and older men. Two local chapters in Minnesota were found to be violating the bylaws by admitting women as regular members. After the chapters were notified by the national organization that revocation of their charters was to be considered, members filed discrimination charges with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. They alleged that the exclusion of women from full membership violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which makes it “an unfair discriminatory practice … [t]o deny any person the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place of public accommodation because of race, color, creed, religion, disability, national origin or sex.”

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A columnist for the local Laconia Evening Citizen asked in an editorial for the paper, “What happened to all the money last year? and every other year?” when discussing Frank “Fritzie” Baer’s management of a ski resort and public recreation area. Baer brought a claim of libel against the columnist because of the column.

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403 U.S. 29 (1971) ROSENBLOOM v. METROMEDIA, INC.       No. 66. Supreme Court of United States.    Argued December 7-8, 1970. Decided June 7, 1971. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT.*30 Ramsey Clark argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the brief was Benjamin Paul.Bernard G…. Read more

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The defendant operated a mail-order business that mailed circulars, advertisements, and a book that the trial court held to be legally obscene and therefore without First Amendment protection.

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To the victor belong only those spoils that may be constitutionally obtained. Elrod v. Burns, 427 U. S. 347 (1976), and Branti v. Finkel, 445 U. S. 507 (1980), decided that the First Amendment forbids government officials to discharge or threaten to discharge public employees solely for not being supporters of the political party in power, unless party affiliation is an appropriate requirement for the position involved. *65 Today we are asked to decide the constitutionality of several related political patronage practices — whether promotion, transfer, recall, and hiring decisions involving low-level public employees may be constitutionally based on party affiliation and support. We hold that they may not.

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Overruled (in part)

The School District of Grand Rapids, Michigan, adopted two programs in which classes for nonpublic school students are financed by the public school system, taught by teachers hired by the public school system, and conducted in "leased" classrooms in the nonpublic schools. Most of the nonpublic schools involved in the programs are sectarian religious schools. This case raises the question whether these programs impermissibly involve the government in the support of sectarian religious activities and thus violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

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In 1963, the Holy Assembly of Bishops and the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church (Mother Church) *698 suspended and ultimately removed respondent Dionisije Milivojevich (Dionisije) as Bishop of the American-Canadian Diocese of that Church, and appointed petitioner Bishop Firmilian Ocokoljich (Firmilian) as Administrator of the Diocese, which the Mother Church then reorganized into three Dioceses. In 1964 the Holy Assembly and Holy Synod defrocked Dionisije as a Bishop and cleric of the Mother Church. In this civil action brought by Dionisije and the other respondents in Illinois Circuit Court, the Supreme Court of Illinois held that the proceedings of the Mother Church respecting Dionisije were procedurally and substantively defective under the internal regulations of the Mother Church and were therefore arbitrary and invalid. The State Supreme Court also invalidated the Diocesan reorganization into three Dioceses. 60 Ill. 2d 477, 328 N. E. 2d 268 (1975).[1] We granted certiorari to determine whether the actions of the Illinois Supreme Court constituted improper judicial interference with decisions of the highest authorities of a hierarchical church in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. 423 U. S. 911 (1975). We hold that the inquiries made by the Illinois Supreme Court into matters of ecclesiastical cognizance and polity and the court's actions pursuant thereto contravened the First and Fourteenth Amendments. We therefore reverse.

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486 U.S. 466 (1988) SHAPERO v. KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION No. 87-16. Supreme Court of United States. Argued March 1, 1988 Decided June 13, 1988 CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF KENTUCKY *468 Donald L. Cox argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs was Mary Janice Lintner. Frank P. Doheny, Jr., argued the… Read more

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Adell H. Sherbert was fired from her job because her religious beliefs as a Seventh Day Adventist prohibited her from working on Saturdays. This restriction also made it difficult for her to find other work after losing her job. When Sherbert applied for unemployment benefits from the state of South Carolina, the state denied her relief. South Carolina could deny benefits to those who could not find a job without good cause. Here, South Carolina did not find Sherbert’s religious convictions to be a “good cause” to restrict her employment.

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Appellant, the proprietor of a bookstore, was convicted in a California Municipal Court under a Los Angeles City ordinance which makes it unlawful "for any person to have in his possession any obscene or indecent writing. [or] book . . . [i]n any place of business where . . . books . . . are sold or kept for sale."[1] The offense was defined by the Municipal Court, and by the Appellate *149 Department of the Superior Court,[2] which affirmed the Municipal Court judgment imposing a jail sentence on appellant, as consisting solely of the possession, in the appellant's bookstore, of a certain book found upon judicial investigation to be obscene. The definition included no element of scienter—knowledge by appellant of the contents of the book—and thus the ordinance was construed as imposing a "strict" or "absolute" criminal liability.[3] The appellant made timely objection below that if the ordinance were so construed it would be in conflict with the Constitution of the United States. This contention, together with other contentions based on the Constitution,[4] was rejected, and the case comes here on appeal. 28 U. S. C. § 1257 (2); 358 U. S. 926.

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The appellants are honorably discharged veterans of World War II who claimed the veterans' property-tax *515 exemption provided by Art. XIII, § 1 1/4, of the California Constitution. Under California law applicants for such exemption must annually complete a standard form of application and file it with the local assessor. The form was revised in 1954 to add an oath by the applicant: "I do not advocate the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of California by force or violence or other unlawful means, nor advocate the support of a foreign government against the United States in event of hostilities." Each refused to subscribe the oath and struck it from the form which he executed and filed for the tax year 1954-1955. Each contended that the exaction of the oath as a condition of obtaining a tax exemption was forbidden by the Federal Constitution. The respective assessors denied the exemption solely for the refusal to execute the oath. The Supreme Court of California sustained the assessors' actions against the appellants' claims of constitutional invalidity.[1] We noted probable jurisdiction of the appeals. 355 U. S. 880.

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489 U.S. 1 (1989) TEXAS MONTHLY, INC. v. BULLOCK, COMPTROLLER OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS OF STATE OF TEXAS, ET AL. No. 87-1245. Supreme Court of United States. Argued November 1, 1988 Decided February 21, 1989 APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF APPEALS OF TEXAS, THIRD DISTRICT *4 Roger James George, Jr., argued the cause for appellant, With… Read more

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During the 1984 Republican National Convention, respondent Gregory Lee Johnson participated in a political demonstration to protest the policies of the Reagan administration and some Dallas-based corporations. After a march through the city streets, Johnson burned an American flag while protesters chanted. No one was physically injured or threatened with injury, although several witnesses were offended by the flag burning. Johnson was convicted of desecration of a venerated object in violation of a Texas statute, and a state court of appeals affirmed. However, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed, holding that the state, consistent with the First Amendment, could not punish Johnson for burning the flag in these circumstances.

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