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Broadrick v. Oklahoma

Significance, "overbreadth" Called Into Question, The Dissent On First Amendment Grounds


William M. Broadrick and two other state employees


Oklahoma State Personnel Board

Appellant's Claim

That Section 818 of the Oklahoma State Merit System Act, which forbids state employees from taking part in political fund-raising or campaigning except as private citizens, was overbroad and vague, thus forbidding activities which are constitutionally protected under the First Amendment.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

John C. Buckingham

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Mike D. Martin, Assistant Attorney General of Oklahoma

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Thurgood Marshall, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, Potter Stewart, Byron R. White (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting

William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

25 June 1973


That Section 818 was constitutional as applied to the actions for which appellants were charged, and that it was not sufficiently overbroad to justify their challenge that it might be applied unconstitutionally to others.

Related Cases

  • Connally v. General Construction Co., 269 U.S. 385 (1926).
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama, 377 U.S. 288 (1958).
  • Coates v. Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611 (1971).
  • Civil Service Commission v. Letter Carriers, 413 U.S. 548 (1973).

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan and Elder Witt, eds. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.
  • Levy, Leonard W., ed. Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, New York: Macmillan, 1986.
  • Witt, Elder, ed. The Supreme Court A to Z, Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1993.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980