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Cox Broadcasting Corp. v. Cohn

Citation. 420 U.S. 469, 95 S.Ct. 1029, 43 L.Ed.2d 328 (1975)
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Brief Fact Summary.

Appellee sued Appellant for violating his right to privacy. Appellant cited the First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment as defenses.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Consistent with the Final Judgment Rule, case precedent has demonstrated that finality of an entire case is not always required before the U.S. Supreme Court may review the state court’s decision on appeal.


Cohn (Appellee) sued Cox Broadcasting Corp. (Appellant) for violating his right to privacy after Appellant broadcasted the name of his daughter, a deceased rape victim. Appellant argued that the broadcast was protected under the First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment.


Under the Final Judgment Rule, may the Supreme Court review the judgment of the Georgia Supreme Court rejecting Appellant’s First and Fourteenth Amendment claims, despite the state law claims being remanded to trial court?


Yes, the U.S. Supreme Court may review the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision regarding the First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment.


Relying on precedent, the Court determined that it was proper under the Final Judgment Rule for the Court to review the Georgia Supreme Court decision involving the First and Fourteenth Amendments before the remaining claims were litigated in trial court. Even if the Appellant won its case in trial court under the theory of torts, the Court determined it was necessary to resolve the question of whether a civil action for publishing the name of a rape victim is barred by the First and Fourteenth Amendment. If the Court finds the civil action barred by these constitutional claims, any further litigation at the trial court become unnecessary.

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