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Lovell v. Griffin

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 303 U.S. 444, 58 S. Ct. 666, 82 L. Ed. 949, 1938 U.S. 297.

Brief Fact Summary. A Griffin, Georgia, law required anyone wishing to distribute literature within city to first obtain permission for doing so. The Appellant, Alma Lovell (Appellant), distributed a religious pamphlet in Griffin without first obtaining a permit and therefore was convicted.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Liberty of the press is a right that permits one to publish materials without obtaining a license.

Facts. A City ordinance of Griffin, Georgia, provided that distributing literature of any kind within the city limits of Griffin, without first permission from the City Manager, shall be deemed a nuisance and punishable as an offense. The Appellant distributed in Griffin, without permission, a pamphlet setting forth the gospel of the “Kingdom of Jehovah” and was therefore convicted.

Issue. Did the Griffin ordinance requiring permission to distribute literature violate the First Amendment of the United States Constitution (Constitution)?

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