An advertisement carried in appellant's newspaper led to his conviction for a violation of a Virginia statute that made it a misdemeanor, by the sale or circulation of any publication, to encourage or prompt the procuring of an abortion. The issue here is whether the editor-appellant's First Amendment rights were unconstitutionally abridged by the statute. The First Amendment, of course, is applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment. Schneider v. State, 308 U. S. 147, 160 (1939).

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Petitioners, seeking to form a local chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at a state-supported college, were denied recognition as a campus organization. Recognition would have entitled petitioners to use campus facilities for meetings and to use of the campus bulletin board and school newspaper. The college president denied recognition because he was not satisfied that petitioners' group was independent of the National SDS, which he concluded has a philosophy of disruption and violence in conflict with the college's declaration of student rights. Petitioners thereupon brought this action for declaratory and injunctive relief. The District Court first ordered a further administrative hearing, after which the president reaffirmed his prior decision. Approving the president's judgment, the District Court held that petitioners had failed to show that they could function free from the National SDS and that the college's refusal to approve the group, which the court found "likely to cause violent acts of disruption," did not violate petitioners' associational rights. The Court of Appeals, purporting not to reach the First Amendment issues, affirmed on the ground that petitioners had failed to avail themselves of the due process accorded to them and to meet their burden of complying with the prevailing standards for recognition.

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