Cox v. New Hampshire

PETITIONER: Willis Cox, et al.
RESPONDENT: New Hampshire
LOCATION:

DOCKET NO.: 502
DECIDED BY: Hughes Court (1941)
LOWER COURT:

ARGUED: Mar 07, 1941
DECIDED: Mar 31, 1941

Facts of the case

A New Hampshire state statute prohibited parades, processions, and open-air gatherings in public spaces without a special license granted by the town selectman or licensing body. On July 8, 1939, Willis Cox, Walter Chaplinsky, John Konides and nearly 80 others gathered in a hall in Manchester, New Hampshire with the purpose of conducting an "information march" during which they would carry signs and hand out leaflets. The group did not apply for a permit. They were convicted in municipal court for violating the statute prohibiting unlicensed parades. The Superior Court conducted a new trial before a jury that also found the defendants guilty, and the Supreme Court of New Hampshire affirmed the conviction.

Question

Does the New Hampshire state statute that prohibits unlicensed parades violate the First Amendment's guarantees of freedom of speech and assembly as applied to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment?