Cox Broadcasting Corporation v. Cohn

PETITIONER:Cox Broadcasting Corporation
LOCATION:Cox Broadcasting Corp

DOCKET NO.: 73-938
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: Supreme Court of Georgia

CITATION: 420 US 469 (1975)
ARGUED: Nov 11, 1974
DECIDED: Mar 03, 1975

Kirk M. McAlpin – Argued the cause for the appellants
Stephen A. Land – Argued the cause for the appellee

Facts of the case

Martin Cohn was the father of a seventeen-year old girl who was raped and killed in Georgia. After obtaining information from the public record, a television station broadcast the name of Cohn’s daughter in connection with the incident. This violated a Georgia privacy statute which prevented members of the media from publicizing the names or identities of rape victims.


Did the Georgia law violate the freedom of the press as protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments?

Media for Cox Broadcasting Corporation v. Cohn

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – November 11, 1974 in Cox Broadcasting Corporation v. Cohn

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – March 03, 1975 in Cox Broadcasting Corporation v. Cohn

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion in 73-938, Cox Broadcasting Corporation against Cohn will be announced by Mr. Justice White.

Byron R. White:

This case is here on appeal from the Supreme Court of Georgia and that Court sustained a statute of the state which forbad the press under any circumstances to publish the name of a rape victim.

There is an initial question about jurisdiction and we answer it and sustain our jurisdiction for the reasons which we given an opinion which is on file with the clerk.

On the merits and on First Amendment grounds, we reverse the judgment of the Georgia Court insofar as it purports to forbid the publication of the name of the rape victim which has already been made a matter of public record in the course of judicial proceedings.

Mr. Justice Powell has filed a concurring opinion.

The Chief Justice concurs in the judgment.

Mr. Justice Douglas has filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.

Mr. Justice Rehnquist has filed a dissenting opinion.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice White.