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Stromberg v. California (Docket #: 584) (1931)  [Findlaw]

Secondary Link Stromberg v. California  [Legal Information Institute]
Argument Date 04/15/1931
Decided 5/18/1931
Supreme Court Vote 7-2
Note This was the first case in which the Supreme Court struck down a state law under the First Amendment as applied to the states by way of the Fourteenth Amendment. The law in question was repealed by the California legislature in 1933.
Supreme Court Ruling First Amendment claim sustained.
IssueDoes a California statute that makes the display of a red flag as a statement of 'opposition to organized government' violate the First & Fourteenth Amendments?
Case Summary & Additional Resources
Majority Opinion Hughes, C.J.
Dissenting Opinion Butler, J., & McReynolds, J. (separate opinions)
Lower Court California Court of Appeals
Lower Court Ruling First Amendment claim denied
For Petitioner
John Beardsley, of Los Angeles, California

For Respondent
John D. Richer, of Los Angeles, California

News Stories & Commentary
New York Times, "Frees Convicted Red Girl," May 19, 1931, p. 5
New York Times, "Mr. Hughes the Chief Justice Emerges," June 28, 1931, Sunday Magazine, p. 2
New York Times, "Red Case in Highest Court," March 29, 1931, p. 3
Washington Post, "Flag Case Taken to Highest Court," March 29, 1931, sect. M, p. 15
Opinion - Lower Court
People v. Mintz, 290 P. 93 (Cal. App., 1930)
Chafee, Zechariah, FREE SPEECH IN THE UNITED STATES (1948), pp. 362-366
Emerson, Thomas, THE SYSTEM OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION (1970), pp. 80-81
Foster, "The 1931 Personal Liberty Cases," 9 New York University Law Quarterly Review 64
Gossett, John S., "Stromberg v. California," in FREE SPEECH ON TRIAL (2003), Richard A. Parker, ed., pp. 52-68

Note, "The Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment," 31 Columbia Law Review 468 (1932)
Sharp, Malcom, "Movement in Supreme Court Adjudication, etc." 46 Harvard Law Review 361 (1933)
Smolla, Rodney, SMOLLA & NIMMER ON FREEDOM OF SPEECH (1994), sect. 5.01[1]
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