Burson v. Freeman Case Brief

Facts of the Case

andRespondent Freeman, while the treasurer for a political campaign in Tennessee, filed an action in the Chancery Court, alleging, among other things, that Tenn. Code Ann.which prohibits the solicitation of votes and the display or distribution of campaign materials within 100 feet of the entrance to a polling place, limited her ability to communicate with voters in violation of,, the. The court dismissed her suit, but the Supreme Court of Tennessee reversed, ruling that the State had a compelling interest in banning such activities within the polling place itself but not on the premises around the polling place. Thus, it concluded, the 100-foot limit was not narrowly tailored to protect, and was not the least restrictive means to serve, the State’s interests. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to review the state supreme court judgment that held that


Did federal law grant the Dakota Territory court jurisdiction over the murder for which Crow Dog was convicted?


No. After subjecting Tennessee’s statute to exacting scrutiny, since it constituted a facial content-based restriction on political speech in a public forum, the Court held that the statute was narrowly drafted to serve a compelling state interest. By creating a safe zone around polling sites, the statute served the state’s interest in protecting its citizen’s right to vote freely and effectively. Moreover, the 100-foot zone was acceptable since it was not so large as to completely block out the presence of political messages.

Case Information

Citation: 504 US 191 (1992)
Argued: Oct 8, 1991
Decided: May 26, 1992
Case Brief: 1992