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Lovell v. City of Griffin

Significance, A Substantial Federal Question, Ordinance Is Unconstitutional Prior Restraint, `press' Includes Pamphlets


Alma Lovell


City of Griffin, Georgia

Petitioner's Claim

A city ordinance prohibiting distribution of any kind of literature within the city limits without permission of the city manager violates the First and Fourteenth. Amendments.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

O. R. Moyle

Chief Lawyers for Respondent

Hughes Spalding and Sumter M. Kelley

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, Louis D. Brandeis, Pierce Butler, Charles Evans Hughes (writing for the Court), James Clark McReynolds, Stanley Forman Reed, Owen Josephus Roberts, Harlan Fiske Stone

Justices Dissenting

None (Benjamin N. Cardozo did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

28 March 1938


The city ordinance was invalidated on its face under the First Amendment, and the defendant's conviction was reversed.

Further Readings

  • Braden, Charles. These Also Believe. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1949.
  • McCoy, Ralph E. Freedom of the Press, An Annotated Bibliography. Electronic Ed. CNI/AAUP Project, Library Affairs, SIUC. 10 January 1995. http://www.lib.siu.edu
  • Owen, Ralph D., "Jehovah's Witnesses and Their Four Freedoms," University of Detroit Law Journal, March, 1951.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940