In 2021, almost 1,500 people submitted cases to FIRE when their rights were in jeopardy.

Hear their stories — and how we're fighting back — by subscribing today.

First Amendment Library:
Walter F. Dodd


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?


It is the public policy of the State of Washington that employers shall not coerce their employees' choice of representatives for purposes of collective bargaining. Do the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Federal Constitution permit the State, in reliance on this policy, to enjoin peaceful picketing carried on for the purpose of compelling an employer to sign a contract with a labor union which coerces his employees' choice of bargaining representative?The State answered in the affirmative. An injunction was issued in narrow terms enjoining petitioners "from endeavoring to compel plaintiff to coerce his employees to join the defendant union or to designate defendant union as their representative for collective bargaining, by picketing the hotel premises of plaintiff . . . ." The Supreme Court of Washington affirmed, 34 Wash. 2d 38, 207 P. 2d 699, and we granted certiorari. 338 U. S. 903.