DOCKET NO.: 118
DECIDED BY: Vinson Court (1949-1953)
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.
id Beuharnais' conviction under the Illinois statute violate his constitutional right to free speech under the First and Fourteenth Amendments?