Brief Fact Summary. The Petitioner, Gitlow (Petitioner), published a communist manifesto for distribution in the United States. He was charged with plotting to overthrow the United States government.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. State statutes are unconstitutional if they are arbitrary and unreasonable attempts to exercise authority vested in the state to protect public interests.
Facts. The Petitioner was charged with criminal anarchy because he was an advocate of socialist reform in the United States. The Petitioner is a member of the Left Wing Section of the Socialist Party. He served as the business manager for the paper that was run by the organization. In 1919 he published the group’s manifesto and prepared for widespread distribution from the New York City headquarters.
Issue. Did the statute prohibiting such activity deprive the Petitioner of his First Amendment constitutional right to freedom of expression?