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Case Summary for Schaumburg v. Citizens for a Better Environment


“The submission is that any organization using more than 25 percent of its receipts on fundraising, salaries, and overhead is not a charitable, but a commercial, for-profit enterprise and that to permit it to represent itself as a charity is fraudulent. But, as the Court of Appeals recognized, this cannot be true of those organizations that are primarily engaged in research, advocacy, or public education and that use their own paid staff to carry out these functions as well as to solicit financial support. The Village, consistently with the First Amendment, may not label such groups "fraudulent" and bar them from canvassing on the streets and house to house. Nor may the Village lump such organizations with those that in fact are using the charitable label as a cloak for profitmaking and refuse to employ more precise measures to separate one kind from the other.” (Justice White)

“….Today's decision relegates any local government interested in regulating door-to-door activities to the role of Sisyphus. (Justice Rehnquist, dissenting)

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