Talley v. California
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|Talley v. California|
|Argued January 13–14, 1960|
Decided March 7, 1960
|Full case name||Talley v. California|
|Citations||362 U.S. 60 (more)|
|The distribution of anonymous handbills is protected by the First Amendment.|
|Majority||Black, joined by Warren, Douglas, Harlan, Brennan, Stewart|
|Dissent||Clark, joined by Frankfurter, Whittaker|
|U.S. Const. amend. I|
Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60 (1960), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States voided a Los Angeles city ordinance which forbade the distribution of any handbills in any place under any circumstances if the handbills did not contain the name and address of the person for whom it was prepared, distributed, or sponsored.
Talley is often cited for the proposition that identification requirements burden speech.
The Importance of Anonymous Speech
Talley v. California is notable for its exposition on anonymous speech. While looking at the historical applications of anonymous speech, the court points to two uses in particular that influenced their decision.
- Fear of Retaliation - Speaking anonymously protects those that criticize oppressive practices from the oppressors.
- Focus on the Message - Listeners focus on the message rather than the messenger when speech is anonymous.
Although the dissent also saw the important protections of anonymous speech, it did not see any danger in this particular instance. The right to speak anonymously had to weigh against the benefit of the public knowing the author. As the dissent saw no evidence that any harm would come to Talley by revelation of his identity, the public knowledge outweighed Talley's right to anonymous speech.
- List of United States Supreme Court cases
- Anonymous Online Speakers v. United States District Court for the District of Nevada
- Text of Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60 (1960) is available from: CourtListener Findlaw Google Scholar Justia Library of Congress Oyez (oral argument audio)
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