Beauharnais v. Illinois

PETITIONER: Joseph Beauharnais
RESPONDENT: Illinois
LOCATION:

DOCKET NO.: 118
DECIDED BY: Vinson Court (1949-1953)
LOWER COURT:

ARGUED: Nov 28, 1951
DECIDED: Apr 28, 1952

Facts of the case

Joseph Beauharnais, president of White Circle League, Inc., was arrested on January 7, 1950 for distributing leaflets on Chicago street corners. The leaflets called in part upon the mayor and aldermen of Chicago "to halt the further encroachment, harassment and invasion of white people…by the Negro." Beauharnais was charged with violating an Illinois law making it illegal to distribute any publication that "exposes the citizens of any race, color, creed or religion to contempt, derision, or obloquy." A jury found him guilty and he was fined $200. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed his conviction.

Question

id Beuharnais' conviction under the Illinois statute violate his constitutional right to free speech under the First and Fourteenth Amendments?