1 minute read

Marsh v. Alabama

Significance, The Special Case Of A Company Town, The Rights Of Property Owners, The Consequences Of Marsh V. Alabama


Grace Marsh


State of Alabama

Appellant's Claim

That she had the freedom to distribute religious literature of the Jehovah's Witnesses on a "public" street in the company-owned town of Chickasaw, Alabama, despite the privately owned town's refusal to issue her a permit and the Alabama state law supporting property owners' right to ask individuals to leave their property.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Hayden C. Covington

Chief Lawyers for Appellee

William M. McQueen, Attorney General of Alabama, and John O. Harris, Assistant Attorney General of Alabama

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black (writing for the Court), William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter, Robert H. Jackson, Frank Murphy, Owen Josephus Roberts, Wiley Blount Rutledge

Justices Dissenting

Harold Burton, Stanley Forman Reed, Harlan Fiske Stone (Robert H. Jackson did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

7 January 1946


The First and the Fourteenth Amendments prohibit states from imposing punishment on people who distribute religious literature, even in a company town; therefore, Marsh's conviction was overturned.

Related Cases

  • Tucker v. Texas, 326 U.S. 517 (1946).
  • Breard v. City of Alexandria, 341 U.S. 622 (1951).
  • Lloyd Corp. v. Tanner, 407 U.S. 551 (1972).

Further Readings

  • Bartholomew, Paul C. American Constitutional Law: Limitations on Government, Vol. II. Totowa, NJ, Littlefield, Adams, 1970, 1978.
  • Pollak, Louis H., ed. The Constitution and the Supreme Court: A Documentary History, Vol. II. Cleveland: World Publishing Co., 1966.
  • Summaries of Leading Cases on the Constitution. Totowa, NJ: Littlefield, Adams & Co., 1976.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1941 to 1953