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Paul v. Davis

Significance, Due Process Clause Invoked, No Violation Of Fourteenth Amendment Rights Found, Minority Opinion


Edgar Paul


Edward Charles Davis III

Petitioner's Claim

A published flyer which contained the name and picture of the respondent who was charged (but not convicted) for "shoplifting" did not violate privacy as provided by Fourteenth Amendment due process guarantees.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Carson P. Potter

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Daniel T. Taylor

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist (writing for the Court), Potter Stewart

Justices Dissenting

William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Byron R. White (John Paul Stevens did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

23 March 1976


Deprivation of constitutional rights under the Fourteenth Amendment's due process of law did not occur through an official distribution of defamatory pamphlets regarding the respondent's alleged shoplifting because reputation alone did not implicate "liberty" and "property" elements of the Due Process Clause.

Related Cases

  • Screws v. United States, 325 U.S. 91 (1945).
  • Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Comm. v. McGrath, 341 U.S. 123 (1951).
  • Wieman v. Updegraff, 344 U.S. 183 (1952).
  • Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167 (1961).
  • Wisconsin v. Constantineau, 400 U.S. 433 (1971).


Steinbock, Bonnie. "Megan's Law: Community Notification of the Release of Sex Offenders." Criminal Justice Ethics, 22 June 1995.

Further Readings

  • FindLaw, Inc. Supreme Court Cases Online. http://laws.findlaw.com.
  • Northwestern University. Oyez, oyez, oyez--A U.S. Supreme Court Database. http://court.it-services.nwu.edu/oyez.
  • Oxford University Press. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. 1992.

Additional topics

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