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Stanley v. Georgia - Obscene Materials, Privacy And The First Amendment, Impact, Related Cases

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

Appellant

Robert Eli Stanley

Appellee

State of Georgia

Appellant's Claim

A Georgia state law criminalizing the possession of obscene material in one's home is unconstitutional because it violates the freedom of speech clause in the First Amendment.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Wesley R. Asinof

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

J. Robert Sparks

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, Abe Fortas, John Marshall Harlan II, Thurgood Marshall (writing for the Court), Potter Stewart, Earl Warren, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

None

Place

Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

7 April 1969

Decision

Reversed a Georgia Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of a Georgia state statute that criminalized the private possession of obscene material.

Significance

With Stanley v. Georgia the Court established boundaries over which state and federal laws could criminalize private ownership of pornographic or obscene material. The Court ruled that the First Amendment protects the right of what an individual reads or watches in the privacy of his home.

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt. Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1997.
  • Gunther, Gerald, and Kathleen Sullivan. Constitutional Law, 13th ed. New York: The Foundation Press Inc., 1997.

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