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New York v. Ferber

Significance, Speech Unworthy Of Protecting, A New Speech Category, Impact, Further Readings


State of New York


Paul Ira Ferber

Petitioner's Claim

That a state law restricting the sales and distribution of films and photographs containing children in sexually explicit scenes does not violate the First Amendment's protection of free speech.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Robert M. Pitler

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Harold Price Fahringer

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger, Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

2 July 1982


Upheld the state of New York's claim and overturned a lower court's decision prohibiting the restriction of nonobscene materials by a state law.

Related Cases

  • Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942).
  • Beauharnais v. Illinois, 343 U.S. 250 (1952).
  • Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957).
  • Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973).
  • Hudnut v. American Booksellers Association, 475 U.S. 1001 (1985).
  • Osborne v. Ohio, 495 U.S. 103 (1990).
  • United States v. X-Citement Video, Inc., 513 U.S. 64 (1994).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988