Other Free Encyclopedias » Law Library - American Law and Legal Information » Notable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972 » National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Button - The Battle For Desegregation, The Naacp Sues, Petitioner's Claims, State's Interests Do Not Justify Suppression Of Speech

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Button - The Naacp Sues

chapter court suit virginia

In 1957, the NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund sued to restrain the enforcement of Chapters 31, 32, 33, 35, and 36 of the Virginia Acts of Assembly, 1956 Extra Session. The organization claimed that the statutes violated its right to freedom of association under the Fourteenth Amendment. Each of the statutes was clearly aimed at the NAACP's legal campaign.

Chapter 31 stated that in order for a group or person to solicit funds to finance a suit, they must be one of the litigants. However, this could be avoided if the person filed organizational information (such as membership lists and financial records) with the state. Chapter 32, purportedly to preserve "interracial harmony and tranquility," required organizations that dealt with racial issues (including those funding litigation "in behalf of any race or color") to register with the state. Chapter 33 expanded the definition of "solicitation," making it illegal for an attorney to work for someone who was not a party in a suit, and who had no financial interest in the suit. It also outlawed solicitation for an attorney by such a third party. Chapter 35 defined "barratry" as "stirring up litigation." Chapter 36 made it illegal for anyone not directly involved in a lawsuit to offer or accept assistance to help another institute or continue a suit.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia struck down Chapters 31, 32, and 35. The court abstained from judgment on Chapters 33 and 36, and instead waited for interpretation from a state court. The NAACP then took the case to the circuit court, which ruled against it. The Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals upheld that ruling for Chapter 33, but reversed it for Chapter 36. With only Chapter 33 remaining law, then, the NAACP petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, which was granted.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Button - Petitioner's Claims [next] [back] National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Button - Further Readings

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