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Cox v. Louisiana

Significance, Protests In Baton Rouge, No Breach Of Peace, Public Passages Not Obstructed, Picketing Before A Courthouse


Reverend B. Elton Cox


State of Louisiana

Appellant's Claim

That the convictions under a local breach-of-the-peace law of a minister leading a peaceful protest against segregation policies violated his First Amendment rights of free speech.

Chief Lawyers for Appellant

Nils Douglas (I) and Carl Rachlin (II)

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Ralph L. Roy

Justices for the Court

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

Justices Dissenting

John Marshall Harlan II, Byron R. White


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

18 January 1965


The two rulings were in favor of Cox and reversed two lower court decisions convicting him of illegal speech and assembly.

Related Cases

  • Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296 (1940).
  • Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942).
  • Edwards v. South Carolina, 372 U.S. 229 (1963).
  • Adderley v. Florida, 385 U.S. 39 (1966).


West's Encyclopedia of American Law. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN: West Publishing, 1998.

Additional topics

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