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Grosjean v. American Press Co.


Although the Supreme Court subsequently ruled that the press is subject to various types of nondiscriminatory economic regulation, in Grosjean, it made clear its condemnation of any attempt at prior restraint of the press that posed as taxation.

In 1934, the state of Louisiana passed an act imposing a license tax for the privilege of selling advertising. The tax applied only to newspapers with a circulation of more than 20,000 copies per week. Of the 163 newspapers published in the state at the time, only 13 fit this description, and all 13 were vocal opponents of the policies of former Louisiana Governor Huey Long, who had fostered the licensing tax. When the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Louisiana upheld the tax, the publishers of the 13 large-circulation papers brought suit against the state tax supervisor in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940Grosjean v. American Press Co. - Significance, Court Strikes Down Tax As Unconstitutional Prior Restraint, Pro And Con: Taxing Newspapers