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Gompers v. Buck's Stove & Range Company


The Supreme Court did not analyze the constitutional question raised under the First Amendment, concluding that the injunction did not, by its terms, restrict or restrain any forms of publication (or speech). Therefore, there was no question on appeal as to an "abridgment" of free speech. Instead, the Court considered whether a lower court had the power to issue an anti-boycott injunction, even if the boycott itself was in the form of written or spoken words or statements. The Court held that such words or statements were not protected speech under the First Amendment, but were unified "verbal acts" (under an alleged conspiracy to act together to harm Buck's company). As such, they were subject to injunctive restraint, if the boycott would result in property being irreparably damaged or commerce being illegally restrained.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1883 to 1917Gompers v. Buck's Stove Range Company - Significance, Historical Backdrop, Testing The Waters, The Court's Analysis, Impact, Unions