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Brief for the Petitioners

Questions Presented2

1. May the State of Alabama, under the guise of civil libel prosecutions, suppress criticism of the political conduct of unnamed public officials, consistently with the guaranteed freedoms of speech, press, assembly and association of the First and Fourteenth Amendments?

2. Were petitioners' rights to due process of law, as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, violated by a $500,000 punitive judgment against them upon a record devoid of evidence of authorization, consent, publication or malice on their part or of pecuniary damage to respondent?

3. Does the rule of law adopted by the State of Alabama below, requiring total strangers to the challenged publication, to procure and study it and, under pain of $500,000 punitive damages, "retract" any claimed libel therein, impose an arbitrary and onerous burden which unconstitutionally infringes petitioners' rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments?

4. Were the rights of Negro petitioners to equal protection, due process of law and fair and impartial trial under the Fourteenth Amendment violated by the trial of the suit brought against them by a white public official of Montgomery (i) in a segregated Courtroom, rife with racial bias and community hostility, (ii) before an all-white jury (from which Negro citizens were intentionally and systematically excluded), and (iii) before a trial judge, not properly qualified, who has stated from the Bench that the Fourteenth Amendment is inapplicable in Alabama Courts, which are governed by "white man's justice"?3

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962Brief for the Petitioners - On Writ Of Certiorari To The Supreme Court Of Alabamabrief For The Petitioners, Questions Presented2, Constitutional And Statutory Provisions Involved