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Jenkins v. Georgia

Significance, "i Know It When I See It", An "obscenely Boring" Film, Defining Obscenity


Billy Jenkins


State of Georgia

Appellant's Claim

That he had been wrongfully convicted under a Georgia state obscenity statute that had made it illegal for him to show the film Carnal Knowledge.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Louis Nizer

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Tony H. Hight

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger, William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist (writing for the Court), Potter Stewart, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

24 June 1974


That the film Carnal Knowledge was not obscene under the constitutional standards that the Court had recently announced in Miller v. California, and that Jenkins' conviction should be reversed.

Related Cases

  • Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957).
  • Kingsley Pictures Corp. v. Regents of the University of the State of New York, 360 U.S. 684 (1959).
  • Manual Enterprises, Inc. v. Day, 370 U.S. 478 (1962).
  • Bantam Books Inc. v. Sullivan, 372 U.S. 58 (1963).
  • Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964).
  • Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973).


Witt, Elder, editor. The Supreme Court A to Z. CQ's Encyclopedia of American Government. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1993.


Green, Jonathon. The Encyclopedia of Censorship. New York: Facts on File, 1990.

Further Readings

  • "Clearing the Calendar." Time, 8 July 1974, pp. 57-58.
  • "Effect of High-Court Rulings on Obscenity Press Freedom." U.S. News & World Report, 8 July 1974, p. 25.
  • "Obscenity: Balancing Act." Newsweek, 8 July 1974, pp. 78-79.
  • Woodward, Bob and Scott Armstrong, The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1979.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980