First Amendment topicsAbout the First Amendment
 
Wooley v. Maynard (doc. #: 75-1453) (1977)  [Findlaw]

Secondary Link Wooley v. Maynard  [Legal Information Institute]
Argument Date 11/29/1976
Decided 04/20/1977
Note David H. Souter, then Attorney General of New Hampshire, was the lead author on the briefs for the Appellant. Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski clerked for the Chief Justice the year this case was handed down.
Supreme Court Ruling First Amendment claim sustained.
 
IssueWhether the State of New Hampshire may constitutionally enforce criminal sanctions against persons who cover the motto "Live Free or Die" on passenger vehicle license plates because that motto is repugnant to their moral and religious beliefs.
 
Case Summary & Additional Resources
Majority Opinion Burger, C.J.
Dissenting Opinion White, J. (dissenting in part & joined by Blackmun, J. & Rehnquist, J), & Rehnquist, J. (joined by Blackmun, J.)
Lower Court District Court for the District of Columbia (3-judge court)
Lower Court Ruling First Amendment claim sustained.
Oral Arguments Oral Arguments  [Oyez]
Lawyers
For Petitioner
Robert V. Johnson II, Assistant Attorney General of New Hampshire (for Appellants)

For Respondent
Richard S. Kohn (for Appellees)

Briefs
For Petitioner
Appendix

David H. Souter & Robert V. Johnson, II (for Appellants) (jurisdictional statement)

David H. Souter & Robert V. Johnson, II (for Appellants) (main brief)

For Respondent
Richard S. Kohn; Jack B. Middleton; R. David DePuy; Melvin L. Wulf; & Joel M. Gora (for Appellees)

Interview
Interview

Opinion - Lower Court
Maynard v. Wooley (3-judge Dist. Ct., per Coffin, C.J.) (406 F. Supp. 1381 (1976))

News
AP, "Foes of Auto Tag Messages Gain," New York Times, April 21, 1977, p. 18 (includes photo of license plate)
Mintz, Morton, "License Plate Ideology Out; License Plate Mottoes Limited," Washington Post, April 21, 1977, sect. A, p. 1
Other
Chemerinsky, Erwin, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: PRINCIPLES & POLICIES (2nd ed., 2002), sect. 11.2.4.3
Dickson, Del, THE SUPREME COURT IN CONFERENCE (1940-1985): THE PRIVATE DISCUSSIONS BEHIND NEARLY 300 SUPREME COURT DECISIONS (2001), pp. 338-339
Kozinski, Alex, "A Tribute to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger" (100 Harv. L. Rev. 975 (1975))

Tribe, Laurence, "The Curvature of Constitutional Space," 103 Harvard Law Review 1, 22 (1989)
Tribe, Laurence, AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW (2nd ed., 1988), pp. 804, 807, 835, 893, 899, 916, 982, 983, 1000-1003
Commentary
Will, George W., "Cleaning Up Those Plates," Washington Post, April 28, 1977, sect. A., p. 19
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