Brown v. Socialist Workers '74 Campaign Comm. (Ohio)

RESPONDENT: Socialist Workers '74 Campaign Comm. (Ohio)
LOCATION: Dr. Simopoulos’ Clinic

DOCKET NO.: 81-776
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)

CITATION: 459 US 87 (1982)
ARGUED: Oct 04, 1982
DECIDED: Dec 08, 1982

Gary Elson Brown - on behalf of the Appellants
Thomas D. Buckley, Jr. - on behalf of the Appellees

Facts of the case


Media for Brown v. Socialist Workers '74 Campaign Comm. (Ohio)

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 04, 1982 in Brown v. Socialist Workers '74 Campaign Comm. (Ohio)

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - December 08, 1982 in Brown v. Socialist Workers '74 Campaign Comm. (Ohio)

Warren E. Burger:

The judgments and opinion of the Court in Brown against the Socialist Workers Campaign Committee of Ohio will be announced by Justice Marshall.

Thurgood Marshall:

This case is here on direct appeal from a three-judge District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

The Court there held that certain campaign disclosure provisions of the Ohio Campaign Expense Reporting Law cannot be constitutionally apply to the Ohio Socialist Workers Party.

The Ohio statute requires every political party to report the names and addresses of campaign contributors and recipients of campaign expenditures.

The District Court concluded that if appellees were compelled to identify all contributors and recipients, those identified might be subject to public harassment and hostility.

Accordingly, that Court enjoined the enforcement of the disclosure provisions against the appellees.

We hold that the Ohio statute cannot be constitutionally applied to the Socialist Workers Party.

The First Amendment protects against to compel disclosure of political association and beliefs.

In our view, a State may not compel a minor party to disclose the identities of campaign contributors, all recipients of campaign expenditures.

If there is a reasonable probability that a disclosure will subject them -- subject those identified to threats, harassment, or reprisals, such a reasonable probability was demonstrated by the evidence of governmental and private hostility toward appellees.

Accordingly, the judgment of the District Court is affirmed.

Justice Blackmun has filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.

Justice O'Connor joined by Justice Rehnquist and Justice Stevens has filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Justice Marshall.