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Massachusetts v. Oakes

Significance, Overbroad Or Not?, Creating A "chilling Effect", Dissension In The Court, Further Readings


State of Massachusetts


Douglas Oakes

Petitioner's Claim

That the conviction of Oakes, who took photographs of his partially nude stepdaughter, should be upheld under a Massachusetts law prohibiting adults from "posing or exhibiting nude minors for purposes of visual representation or reproduction in any book, magazine, pamphlet, motion picture, photograph, or picture."

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

James M. Shannon, Massachusetts Attorney General

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Richard J. Vita

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, Anthony M. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor (writing for the Court), William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

21 June 1989


The Court send Oakes's case back to a lower court to determine if his conviction should be upheld under the original statute.

Related Cases

  • Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U.S. 629 (1968).
  • Broadrick v. Oklahoma, 413 U.S. 601 (1973).
  • Bigelow v. Virginia, 421 U.S. 809 (1975).
  • New York v. Ferber, 458 U.S. 747 (1982).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994