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Roth v. United States

Significance, Supreme Court Defines Obscenity, Further Readings


Samuel Roth


United States

Appellant's Claim

That publication of "obscene" material is protected by the First Amendment.

Chief Lawyers for Appellant

David von G. Albrecht and O. John Rogge

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Roger D. Fisher

Justices for the Court

William J. Brennan, Jr. (writing for the Court), Harold Burton, Tom C. Clark, Felix Frankfurter, Earl Warren, Charles Evans Whittaker

Justices Dissenting

Hugo Lafayette Black, William O. Douglas, John Marshall Harlan II


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

24 June 1957


The Supreme Court upheld both state and federal laws punishing the sale and distribution of publications of material judged to be obscene or indecent.

Related Cases

  • Near v. Minnesota, 283 U.S. 697 (1931).
  • Memoirs v. Massachusetts 383 U.S. 413 (1966).
  • Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973).
  • Paris Adult Theater v. Slaton District Attorney, 413 U.S. 49 (1973).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962