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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

Petitioner

NAACP

Respondent

Robert Y. Button, Attorney General of Virginia

Petitioner's Claim

That Chapter 33 of the Virginia Acts of Assembly, Extra Session 1956, violated its Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Robert L. Carter

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Henry T. Wickham

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, William J. Brennan, Jr. (writing for the Court), William O. Douglas, Arthur Goldberg, Earl Warren

Justices Dissenting

Tom C. Clark, John Marshall Harlan II, Potter Stewart, Byron R. White

Place

Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

14 January 1963

Decision

The Court, reversing the decision of the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, held that Chapter 33 of the Virginia Acts of Assembly, Extra Session 1956, was unconstitutional because it violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Significance

The decision affirmed the NAACP's freedoms of speech and association in the face of attacks from the state. The Virginia statute would have sharply curtailed the legal activities of the NAACP, which was working to desegregate schools by means of litigation.

Related Cases

  • Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449 (1958).
  • Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Virginia State Bar, 377 U.S. 1 (1964).
  • United Mine Workers v. Illinois State Bar Association, 389 U.S. 217 (1967).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972