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 nameBeauharnais v. Illinois
Citations343 U.S. 250 (more)
72 S. Ct. 725; 96 L. Ed. 919; 1952 U.S. LEXIS 2799
Prior historyCert. 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; cert. granted, 342 U.S. 809.
Holding
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 constitutional.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Fred M. Vinson
Associate Justices
Hugo Black · Stanley F. Reed
Felix Frankfurter · William O. Douglas
Robert H. Jackson · Harold H. Burton
Tom C. Clark · Sherman Minton
Case opinions
MajorityFrankfurter, joined by Vinson, Burton, Clark, Minton
DissentBlack, joined by Douglas
DissentReed, joined by Douglas
DissentDouglas
DissentJackson
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. It is most known for giving a legal basis to some degree that forms of hate speech which may be deemed to breach U.S. libel law are not protected by the First Amendment.

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 First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Subsequent history[edit]

Although Beauharnais has not been overturned, subsequent Supreme Court decisions such as New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964) and R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul (1992) have 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]