Bridges v. California

PETITIONER: Harry Bridges
RESPONDENT: California
LOCATION:

DOCKET NO.: 1
DECIDED BY: Stone Court (1941-1942)
LOWER COURT:

ARGUED: Oct 13, 1941
DECIDED: Dec 08, 1941

Facts of the case

Harry Bridges, the leader of a longshoreman's union, sent a telegram to Frances Perkins, the Secretary of Labor, regarding a case pending that was in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Bridges implied that he would have his union go on strike if the Superior Court ruled unfavorably. A copy of the telegram was given to James D. O'Neil, who distributed the telegram to various West Coast Newspapers. The Superior Court found Bridges in contempt of court and fined him. Similarly, the Los Angeles Times was also found in contempt of court and fined for publishing several editorials regarding a case pending in the Superior Court. Bridges and the Times challenged their punishments separately in the Superior Court. The Superior Court upheld their fines, and both appealed separately to the Supreme Court of California. The California Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court. Bridges and the Times appealed separately to the Supreme Court, where the cases were consolidated.

Question

Was the Superior Court's findings of contempt against Bridges and the Times in violation of the free speech and free press clauses of the First Amendment?