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Inc. v. Wilson Joseph Burstyn Commissioner of Education of New York etal.

Significance, A Controversial Film, Sacrilege Or Art?, Movies As Free Press, Sacrilege And The Arts


Joseph Burstyn, Inc.


Lewis A. Wilson, New York Commissioner of Education

Appellant's Claim

The New York State should not have banned the showing of the film The Miracle on the grounds that the film was "sacrilegious."

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Ephraim S. London

Chief Lawyers for Appellee

Charles A. Brind, Jr., and Wendell P. Brown, Solicitor General of New York

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, Harold Burton, Tom C. Clark (writing for the Court), William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter, Robert H. Jackson, Sherman Minton, Stanley Forman Reed, Fred Moore Vinson

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

26 May 1952


That New York should not permit a censor to restrict films on the grounds of "sacrilege."

Related Cases

  • Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964).
  • Jenkins v. Georgia, 418 U.S. 153 (1974).


"Why Is the Public When Confronted with Openly Anti-Catholic Imagery, Amused or Indifferent? What Are the Limits? Where Is the Outrage?"The New York Times, 16 May 1998.

Further Readings

  • Bartholomew, Paul C. American Constitutional Law, Limitations on Government. Vol. II. Totowa, NJ: Littlefield, Adams, 1970, 1978.
  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.

Additional topics

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