Patterson v. Colorado

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Patterson v. Colorado
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued March 5, 1907
Decided April 15, 1907
Full case name Patterson v. Colorado
Citations 205 U.S. 454 (more)
205 U.S. 454
Holding
The First Amendment's purpose is to guard against prior restraints, not to prevent punishment of publications that may harm public welfare.
Court membership
Case opinions
Plurality Holmes
Dissent Brewer
Dissent Harlan
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. I

Patterson v. Colorado, 205 U.S. 454 (1907), was a First Amendment case. Before 1919, the primary legal test used in the United States to determine if speech could be criminalized was the bad tendency test.[1] Rooted in English common law, the test permitted speech to be outlawed if it had a tendency to harm public welfare.[1] One of the earliest cases the Supreme Court heard addressing punishment after material was published was 1907's Patterson v. Colorado in which the Court used the bad tendency test to uphold contempt charges against a newspaper publisher who accused Colorado judges of acting on behalf of local utility companies.[1][2]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Rabban, pp 132–134, 190–199.
  2. ^ Before 1907, most free speech issues addressed prior restraint rather than punishment after speaking.

References[edit]

  • Rabban, David, Free Speech in Its Forgotten Years, Cambridge University Press, 1999, ISBN 9780521655378

External links[edit]

  • Text of Patterson v. Colorado, 205 U.S. 454 (1951) is available from:  Findlaw  Justia