Davis v. Massachusetts

PETITIONER: William F. Davis
RESPONDENT: Massachusetts

DECIDED BY: Fuller Court (1896-1897)

ARGUED: Mar 26, 1897
DECIDED: May 10, 1897

Facts of the case

An ordinance in the City of Boston prohibited any person from making "any public address" on public grounds without permission of the mayor. In 1894, Rev. William F. Davis attempted to preach in Boston Commons, a public park. Davis was arrested, fined, and jailed for violating the ordinance. Davis appealed his conviction, arguing, in part, that the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause's protection of property entailed a right to access public property. On appeal, in an opinion authored by future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts rejected Davis' contention and denied his claim.


Did Davis' arrest for violating the city ordinance banning addresses on public property violate his due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment's protection of property?