Jamison v. State of Texas, No. 558

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBLACK
Citation63 S.Ct. 669,318 U.S. 413,87 L.Ed. 869
Docket NumberNo. 558
Decision Date08 March 1943
PartiesJAMISON v. STATE OF TEXAS

318 U.S. 413
63 S.Ct. 669
87 L.Ed. 869
JAMISON

v.

STATE OF TEXAS.

No. 558.
Argued Feb. 12, 1943.
Decided March 8, 1943.

On Appeal from the Criminal Court of Dallas County, Texas.

Mr. Hayden C. Covington, of Brooklyn, N.Y., for appellant.

Mr. H. P. Kucera, of Dallas, Tex., for appellee.

Mr. Justice BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.

The appellant, a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, was charged with distributing handbills on the streets of Dallas, Texas, in violation of an ordinance of that city which prohibits their distribution. She was convicted in the Corporation Court of Dallas, and appealed to the

Page 414

County Criminal Court where, after a trial de novo, she was again convicted and a fine of $5.00 and costs was imposed. Under Texas law she could appeal to no higher state court, 1 and since she properly raised federal questions of substance in both courts, the case is rightfully here on appeal under Section 237(a) of the Judicial Code, 28 U.S.C.A. § 344(a). King Manufacturing Co. v. Augusta, 277 U.S. 100, 48 S.Ct. 489, 72 L.Ed. 801. The appellee has asked us to reconsider the doctrine of the King Manufacturing Co. case under which this Court takes jurisdiction on appeal from judgments sustaining the validity of municipal ordinances. We see no reason for reconsidering the King Manufacturing Co. case and follow it here.

We think the judgment below must be reversed because the Dallas ordinance denies to the appellant the freedom of press and of religion guaranteed to her by the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Federal Constitution.

The stipulated facts show that the appellant, after three years of special training, had devoted many years to the work of the Jehovah's Witnesses. At the time of her arrest, the appellant was distributing handbills in an orderly and quiet manner to pedestrians whom she met on the street. On one side of the handbill was an invitation to attend a gathering in a Dallas park which was to be one of fifty simultaneous gatherings of Jehovah's Witnesses in as many cities to hear an address by a leader of the group on 'Peace, Can It Last'. The other side of the handbill repeated the invitation and described at the bottom two books which explained the Jehovah's Witnesses' interpretation of the Bible and set out their religious views. This was followed by a statement that the books would be mailed 'Postage Prepaid on your contribution of 25¢'. While the books were not actually sold on the streets, the

Page 415

appellant would have delivered them to the home of any one who made the twenty-five cents contribution. The books would have cost her more than twenty-five cents.

The Dallas ordinance which is set forth in the margin2 has been construed by the state court to forbid the distribution of leaflets by the appellant in the fashion outlined above.3 The city seeks to uphold the ordinance here on the contention (a) that it is justified as an exercise of the city's plenary control of its streets, and (b) that appellant's activity may be forbidden because the leaflects include 'commercial advertising of books which the distributor is offering for sale.'

First. The city contends that its power over its streets is not limited to the making of reasonable regulations for the control of traffic and the maintenance of order, but that it has the power absolutely to prohibit the use of the streets for the communication of ideas. It relies primarily on Davis v. Commonwealth, 167 U.S. 43, 17 S.Ct. 731, 42 L.Ed. 71. This same argu-

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219 practice notes
  • INTERN. SOC. FOR KRISHNA, ETC. v. Barber, No. 77 CV 328.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of New York
    • August 25, 1980
    ...the information." See, Grayned v. City of Rockford, 408 U.S. 104, 115-16, 92 S.Ct. 2294, 2302-03, 33 L.Ed.2d 222 (1972); Jamison v. Texas, 318 U.S. 413, 63 S.Ct. 669, 87 L.Ed. 869 (1943); Martin v. Struthers, 319 U.S. 141, 63 S.Ct. 862, 87 L.Ed. 1313 (1943); Cox v. New Hampshire, 312 U.S. 5......
  • Child Evangelism v. Montgomery County, No. 03-1534.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • June 30, 2004
    ...distribution of handbills containing an invitation to a religious gathering and an advertisement for religious books. Jamison v. Texas, 318 U.S. 413, 414-16, 63 S.Ct. 669, 87 L.Ed. 869 (1943). (I recognize, of course, that the Supreme Court now analyzes cases involving the distribution of r......
  • Anderson v. City Of Hermosa Beach, No. 08-56914.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 9, 2010
    ...Ohio, 319 U.S. 141, 145-49, 63 S.Ct. 862, 87 L.Ed. 1313 (1943) (ban on door-to-door distribution of literature); Jamison v. Texas, 318 U.S. 413, 416, 63 S.Ct. 669, 87 L.Ed. 869 (1943) (ban on distributing handbills on the public streets); Lovell v. City of Griffin, 303 U.S. 444, 451-52, 58 ......
  • Woodruff v. Board of Trustees of Cabell Huntington Hosp., No. 16313
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • July 11, 1984
    ...L.Ed.2d 1, 5 (1971); Martin v. City of Struthers, 319 U.S. 141, 143, 63 S.Ct. 862, 863, 87 L.Ed. 1313, 1316-17 (1943); Jamison v. Texas, 318 U.S. 413, 416, 63 S.Ct. 669, 672, 84 L.Ed. 869, 872-73 (1943); Schneider v. State, 308 U.S. 147, 164, 60 S.Ct. 146, 152, 84 L.Ed. 155, 166 Similarly, ......
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218 cases
  • INTERN. SOC. FOR KRISHNA, ETC. v. Barber, No. 77 CV 328.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of New York
    • August 25, 1980
    ...the information." See, Grayned v. City of Rockford, 408 U.S. 104, 115-16, 92 S.Ct. 2294, 2302-03, 33 L.Ed.2d 222 (1972); Jamison v. Texas, 318 U.S. 413, 63 S.Ct. 669, 87 L.Ed. 869 (1943); Martin v. Struthers, 319 U.S. 141, 63 S.Ct. 862, 87 L.Ed. 1313 (1943); Cox v. New Hampshire, 312 U.S. 5......
  • Child Evangelism v. Montgomery County, No. 03-1534.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • June 30, 2004
    ...distribution of handbills containing an invitation to a religious gathering and an advertisement for religious books. Jamison v. Texas, 318 U.S. 413, 414-16, 63 S.Ct. 669, 87 L.Ed. 869 (1943). (I recognize, of course, that the Supreme Court now analyzes cases involving the distribution of r......
  • Anderson v. City Of Hermosa Beach, No. 08-56914.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 9, 2010
    ...Ohio, 319 U.S. 141, 145-49, 63 S.Ct. 862, 87 L.Ed. 1313 (1943) (ban on door-to-door distribution of literature); Jamison v. Texas, 318 U.S. 413, 416, 63 S.Ct. 669, 87 L.Ed. 869 (1943) (ban on distributing handbills on the public streets); Lovell v. City of Griffin, 303 U.S. 444, 451-52, 58 ......
  • Woodruff v. Board of Trustees of Cabell Huntington Hosp., No. 16313
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • July 11, 1984
    ...L.Ed.2d 1, 5 (1971); Martin v. City of Struthers, 319 U.S. 141, 143, 63 S.Ct. 862, 863, 87 L.Ed. 1313, 1316-17 (1943); Jamison v. Texas, 318 U.S. 413, 416, 63 S.Ct. 669, 672, 84 L.Ed. 869, 872-73 (1943); Schneider v. State, 308 U.S. 147, 164, 60 S.Ct. 146, 152, 84 L.Ed. 155, 166 Similarly, ......
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1 books & journal articles
  • ON THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF HARD STATE BORDER CLOSURES IN RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.
    • United States
    • Journal of Law and Health Vol. 35 Nbr. 1, September 2021
    • September 22, 2021
    ...means: "Frauds, street littering and disorderly conduct could be denounced and punished as offenses."); Jamison v. State of Texas, 318 U.S. 413, 416 (1943) (showing where the court followed the Griffin and Schneider cases in striking down an ordinance prohibiting the distribution of handbil......

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