Beauharnais v. Illinois

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Beauharnais v. Illinois
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued November 28, 1951
Decided April 28, 1952
Full case name Beauharnais v. Illinois
Citations 343 U.S. 250 (more)
72 S. Ct. 725; 96 L. Ed. 919; 1952 U.S. LEXIS 2799
Prior history Cert. to the S.Ct. of IL. The Supreme Court of Illinois sustained petitioner's conviction of a violation of Ill. Rev. Stat., 1949, c. 38 § 471, over his objection that the statute was invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment. 408 Ill. 512, 97 N. E. 2d 343. This Court granted certiorari. 342 U.S. 809. Affirmed, p. 267
Holding
The Court upheld an Illinois law making it illegal to publish or exhibit any writing or picture portraying the "depravity, criminality, unchastity, or lack of virtue of a class of citizens of any race, color, creed or religion."
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Frankfurter, joined by Vinson, Burton, Clark, Minton
Dissent Black, joined by Douglas
Dissent Reed, joined by Douglas
Dissent Douglas
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amends. I, XIV

Beauharnais v. Illinois, 343 U.S. 250 (1952), was a case that came before the United States Supreme Court in 1952. The result was that an Illinois law making it illegal to publish or exhibit any writing or picture portraying the "depravity, criminality, unchastity, or lack of virtue of a class of citizens of any race, color, creed or religion" was upheld.

The defendant in Beauharnais distributed a leaflet "setting forth a petition calling on the Mayor and City Council of Chicago 'to halt the further encroachment, harassment and invasion of white people, their property, neighborhoods and persons, by the Negro.'" His criminal conviction by the trial court was sustained by the Illinois Supreme Court which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld after rejecting the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process challenge.

In his opinion Justice Frankfurter argued that the speech conducted by the defendant breached libel, which is reasoned to be outside the protection of the 1st and 14th Amendments.

Subsequent history[edit]

Although Beauharnais has never been explicitly overturned, subsequent Supreme Court decisions such as New York Times Co. v. Sullivan adopted a more speech protective position.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schwartz, Bernard. The Warren Court: A Retrospective, p.78. Oxford University Press, 1996.

External links[edit]

  • Text of Beauharnais v. Illinois, 343 U.S. 250 (1952) is available from:  Findlaw  Justia