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Lamont v. Postmaster General of the United States

Significance, Court Sets Broad Free Speech Protections, Impact, Related Cases, Further Readings


Corliss Lamont


John F. Fixa, U.S. Postmaster General

Appellant's Claim

That a federal statute requiring the postmaster to destroy any mail from foreign countries determined to be communist propaganda unless the addressee returns a reply card indicating his desire to receive the mail violated his free speech rights under the First Amendment.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Leonard B. Boudin

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Archibald Cox, U.S. Solicitor General

Justices for the Court

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

Justices Dissenting

None (Byron R. White did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

24 May 1965


That the statute requiring the addressee to return a reply card in order to receive mail designated as communist propaganda infringed on the addressee's unfettered right to free speech under the First Amendment.

Additional topics

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