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Cox v. Louisiana - Significance, Protests In Baton Rouge, No Breach Of Peace, Public Passages Not Obstructed, Picketing Before A Courthouse

appellant decision law justices


Reverend B. Elton Cox


State of Louisiana

Appellant's Claim

That the convictions under a local breach-of-the-peace law of a minister leading a peaceful protest against segregation policies violated his First Amendment rights of free speech.

Chief Lawyers for Appellant

Nils Douglas (I) and Carl Rachlin (II)

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Ralph L. Roy

Justices for the Court

Hugo L. Black, William J. Brennan, Jr., Tom C. Clark, William O. Douglas, Arthur Goldberg (writing for the Court), Potter Stewart, Earl Warren

Justices Dissenting

John Marshall Harlan II, Byron R. White


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

18 January 1965


The two rulings were in favor of Cox and reversed two lower court decisions convicting him of illegal speech and assembly.

Related Cases

  • Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296 (1940).
  • Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942).
  • Edwards v. South Carolina, 372 U.S. 229 (1963).
  • Adderley v. Florida, 385 U.S. 39 (1966).


West's Encyclopedia of American Law. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN: West Publishing, 1998.

Curt Flood Trial and Appeals: 1970-72 - Flood's Conditioning, The Playoffs, Three Strikes …, Extra Innings, Suggestions For Further Reading [next] [back] Coolidge v. New Hampshire - The Investigation Of A "particularly Brutal Murder" And The Trial That Followed, The Improper Use Of A Warrant

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about 11 years ago

I am not a lawyer. My background is in criminal justice. I was reading this section because I noticed in the Federal Register that the Nuclear Reg Commission has specified in advance of a meeting what public attendees can say, do, or present such as posters or wearing t-shirts. Inasmuch as conduct during these meetings must show some violent or overtly disruptive behavior how can a federal agency beforehand specify what the public can or cannot do in what seems to me to be a violation of constitutional priciple.