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Gompers v. Buck's Stove & Range Company

Significance, Historical Backdrop, Testing The Waters, The Court's Analysis, Impact, Unions


Samuel Gompers, et al.


Buck's Stove & Range Company

Petitioners' Claim

That even though they violated the terms of an injunction, the actions of Gompers and others in the American Federation of Labor were protected under the First Amendment.

Chief Lawyers for Petitioners

Alton B. Parker, Jackson H. Ralston

Chief Lawyers for Respondent

J. J. Darlington, Daniel Davenport

Justices for the Court

William Rufus Day, John Marshall Harlan I, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Charles Evans Hughes, Joseph Rucker Lamar (writing for the Court), Horace Harmon Lurton, Joseph McKenna, Willis Van Devanter, Edward Douglass White

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

15 May 1911


The Court would not consider the free speech argument, but reversed two lower courts' findings of criminal contempt on a technicality.

Related Cases

  • Ex Parte Rowland, 104 U.S. 604 (1882).
  • Tinker v. Des Moines School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969).
  • NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Company, 458 U.S. 886 (1982).
  • Waters v. Churchill, 511 U.S. 661 (1994).
  • Madsen v. Women's Health Center, 513 U.S. 753 (1994).


West's Encyclopedia of American Law, Volume 6. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN: The West Group, 1998.

Further Readings

  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty. London, England: Oxford University Press, 1859.
  • Wade, Edwin L. Constitution 2000. Chicago, IL: Let's Talk Sense Publishing Company, 1995.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1883 to 1917