Opinions & Commentaries

341 U.S. 123 (1951) JOINT ANTI-FASCIST REFUGEE COMMITTEE v. McGRATH, ATTORNEY GENERAL, ET AL.   NO. 8. Supreme Court of United States.   Argued October 11, 1950. Decided April 30, 1951. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT.[*]*124 O. John Rogge and Benedict Wolf argued the cause for petitioner in No. 8. With them on the brief was Murray A. Gordon. David Rein argued the cause for petitioners in No. 7. With him on the brief were Abraham J. Isserman and Joseph Forer. Allan R. Rosenberg argued the cause and filed a brief […]

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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.

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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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Appellant sought to challenge the constitutionality of the Maryland motion picture censorship statute, Md. Ann. Code, 1957, Art. 66A, and exhibited the film "Revenge at Daybreak" at his Baltimore theatre without first submitting the picture to the State Board of Censors as required by § 2 thereof.[1] The State concedes that the picture does not violate the statutory standards[2] and *53 would have received a license if properly submitted, but the appellant was convicted of a § 2 violation despite his contention that the statute in its entirety unconstitutionally impaired freedom of expression. The Court of Appeals of Maryland affirmed, 233 Md. 498, 197 A. 2d 232, and we noted probable jurisdiction, 377 U. S. 987. We reverse.

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Section 1461 of Title 18, U. S. C., prohibits the knowing use of the mails for the delivery of obscene matter.[1] The issue presented by the jurisdictional statement in this case is whether § 1461 is constitutional as applied to the distribution of obscene materials to willing recipients who state that they are adults. The District Court held that it was not.[2] We disagree and reverse the judgment.

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Appellant is a town attorney in Nassau County, N. Y., who, along with other local law enforcement officials, was preliminary enjoined by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York from enforcing a local ordinance of the town of North Hempstead. Salem Inn, Inc. v. Frank, 364 F. Supp. 478 (1973), aff'd, 501 F. 2d 18 (CA2 1974). In addition to defending the ordinance on the merits, he contends that the complaint should have been dismissed on the authority of Younger v. Harris, 401 U. S. 37 (1971), and its companion cases.

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The issue in this case is the validity under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of a municipal ordinance prohibiting the solicitation of contributions by charitable organizations that do not use at least 75 percent of their receipts for "charitable purposes," those purposes being defined to exclude solicitation expenses, salaries, overhead, and other administrative expenses. The Court of Appeals held the ordinance unconstitutional. We affirm that judgment.

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454 U.S. 464 (1982) VALLEY FORGE CHRISTIAN COLLEGE v. AMERICANS UNITED FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE, INC., ET AL. No. 80-327. Supreme Court of United States. Argued November 4, 1981 Decided January 12, 1982 CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT *465 C. Clark Hodgson, Jr., argued the cause and filed a brief for petitioner. Solicitor General Lee argued the cause for the federal parties as respondents under this Court’s Rule 19.6 in support of *466 petitioner. With him on the briefs were former Solicitor General McCree, Deputy Solicitor General Geller, Deputy Solicitor General […]

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In Schaumburg v. Citizens for a Better Environment, 444 U. S. 620 (1980), this Court, with one dissenting vote, concluded that a municipal ordinance prohibiting the solicitation of contributions by a charitable organization that did not use at least 75% of its receipts for "charitable purposes" was unconstitutionally overbroad in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The issue in the present case is whether a Maryland statute with a like percentage limitation, but with provisions that render it more "flexible" than the *950 Schaumburg ordinance, can withstand constitutional attack. The Court of Appeals of Maryland concluded that, even with this increased flexibility, the percentage restriction on charitable solicitation was an unconstitutional limitation on protected First Amendment solicitation activity. We agree with that conclusion and affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

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The courts below declared unconstitutional the following Virginia statute: "It shall be unlawful for any person . . . to knowingly display for commercial purpose in a manner whereby juveniles may examine and peruse" visual or written material that "depicts sexually explicit nudity, sexual conduct or sadomasochistic abuse and which is harmful to juveniles." Va. Code § 18.2-391(a) (Supp. 1987). The unique factual and procedural setting of this case leads us to conclude that an authoritative construction of the Virginia statute by the Virginia Supreme Court would substantially aid our review of this constitutional holding, and might well determine the case entirely. Accordingly, we certify two questions to the Virginia Supreme Court.[1]

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The city of Lakewood, a suburban community bordering Cleveland, Ohio, appeals a judgment of the Court of Appeals *753 for the Sixth Circuit enjoining enforcement of its local ordinance regulating the placement of newsracks. The court's decision was based in part on its conclusion that the ordinance vests the mayor with unbridled discretion over which publishers may place newsracks on public property and where.

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493 U.S. 215 (1990) FW/PBS, INC., DBA PARIS ADULT BOOKSTORE II, ET AL. v. CITY OF DALLAS ET AL.     No. 87-2012. Supreme Court of United States.    Argued October 4, 1989 Decided January 9, 1990[*] CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT*219 John H. Weston argued the cause for petitioners in all cases. With him on the briefs for petitioners in No. 87-2051 were G. Randall Garrou, Cathy E. Crosson, and Richard L. Wilson. Arthur M. Schwartz filed briefs for petitioners in No. 87-2012. Frank P. Hernandez filed a brief for petitioners in […]

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A Florida state court ordered that antiabortion protestors could not demonstrate within 36 feet of an abortion clinic, make loud noises within earshot of the clinic, display images observable from the clinic, approach patients within 300 feet of the clinic, and demonstrate within 300 feet of the residence of any clinic employee. The Florida Supreme Court upheld the injunction in its entirety. When speech in a public forum is prohibited because of its content, the state must be able to demonstrate that the regulation is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental issue. Perry Education Assn. v. Perry Local Educators' Assn., 460 U.S. 37 (1983). If the regulation is neutral as to the speaker's content, the regulation need only be a reasonable restriction on the time, place, or manner of the speech. Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 491 U.S. 781 (1989).

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In 1996, California law was amended to prohibit the release of the addresses of persons arrested if the information would be used for commercial purposes. The same law allowed the release of such information if used for a "scholarly, journalistic, political or governmental purpose" or for "investigative purposes" by a licensed investigator. Both lower courts ruled the law unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds. Laws that burden commercial speech must advance a substantial governmental interest in a direct and material way and be narrowly drawn. Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. v. Public Service Comm'n of New York, 447 U.S. 557 (1980). "Neither the First Amendment nor the Fourteenth Amendment mandates a right of access to government information or sources of information within the government's control." Houchins v. KQED, Inc., 438 U.S. 1 (1978).

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541 U.S. 267 (2004) VIETH ET AL. v. JUBELIRER, PRESIDENT OF THE PENNSYLVANIA SENATE, ET AL. No. 02-1580. Supreme Court of United States. Argued December 10, 2003. Decided April 28, 2004. APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA *268 *269 *270 SCALIA, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which REHNQUIST, C. J., and O’CONNOR and THOMAS, JJ., joined. KENNEDY, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 306. STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 317. SOUTER, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, […]

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Petitioner school district requires each elementary school class to recite daily the Pledge of Allegiance. Respondent Newdow’s daughter participated in this exercise. Newdow, an atheist, filed suit alleging that, because the Pledge contains the words “under God,” it constitutes religious indoctrination of his child in violation of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. He also alleged that he had standing to sue on his own behalf and on behalf of his daughter as “next friend.” The Magistrate Judge concluded that the Pledge was constitutional, and the District Court agreed and dismissed the complaint. The Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that Newdow had standing as a parent to challenge a practice that interfered with his right to direct his daughter’s religious education, and that the school district’s policy violates the Establishment Clause. Sandra Banning, the child’s mother, then filed a motion to intervene or dismiss, declaring, inter alia, that she had exclusive legal custody under a state-court order and that, as her daughter’s sole legal custodian, she felt it was not in the child’s interest to be a party to Newdow’s suit. Concluding that Banning’s sole legal custody did not deprive Newdow, as a noncustodial parent, of Article III standing to object to unconstitutional government action affecting his child, the Ninth Circuit held that, under California law, Newdow retains the right to expose his child to his particular religious views even if they contradict her mother’s, as well as the right to seek redress for an alleged injury to his own parental interests.

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127 S.Ct. 2553 (2007) Jay F. HEIN, Director, White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, et al., Petitioners, v. FREEDOM FROM RELIGION FOUNDATION, INC., et al. No. 06-157. Supreme Court of United States. Argued February 28, 2007. Decided June 25, 2007. *2558 Paul D. Clement, Washington, D.C., for Petitioners. Andrew J. Pincus, for Respondents. *2559 Paul D. Clement, Solicitor General, Washington, D.C., for Petitioners. Giovanna Shay, New Haven, CT, Andrew J. Pincus, Charles A. Rothfeld, Elizabeth G. Oyer, Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP, Washington, DC, Richard L. Bolton, Boardman, Suhr, Curry & Field LLC, Madison, WI, for Respondents. […]

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