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Marsh v. Alabama

The Rights Of Property Owners

The Supreme Court therefore overturned Marsh's conviction, establishing the principle that privately owned places could also be public, and that freedom of religion was one of the most "preferred" freedoms in the nation. However, Justices Reed, Burton, and Chief Justice Stone dissented. As Justice Reed wrote:

It has never been held and is not now by this opinion of the Court that these [constitutional] rights [to freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press] are absolute either in respect to the manner or the place of their exercise . . . This is the first case to extend by law the privilege of religious exercises beyond public places or to private places without the assent of the owner . . .

Despite these objections, the majority decision in Marsh established an important principle. People who owned places that were treated as "public" had different obligations than the owners of individual homes.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1941 to 1953Marsh v. Alabama - Significance, The Special Case Of A Company Town, The Rights Of Property Owners, The Consequences Of Marsh V. Alabama