Linmark Associates, Inc. v. Township of Willingboro

PETITIONER: Linmark Associates, Inc.
RESPONDENT: Township of Willingboro
LOCATION: North Carolina Board of Agriculture

DOCKET NO.: 76-357
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

CITATION: 431 US 85 (1977)
ARGUED: Mar 02, 1977
DECIDED: May 02, 1977

ADVOCATES:
John P. Hauch, Jr. - for petitioners
John P. Hauch -
Myron H. Gottlieb - for respondents

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Linmark Associates, Inc. v. Township of Willingboro

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 02, 1977 in Linmark Associates, Inc. v. Township of Willingboro

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 02, 1977 in Linmark Associates, Inc. v. Township of Willingboro

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in 76-357, Linmark Associates against the Town of Willingboro will be announced by Mr. Justice Marshall.

Thurgood Marshall:

This case is here on writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

The case involves a challenge to the constitutionality of an ordinance, prohibiting the posting of real estate for sale and sold signs.

The ordinance was enacted in an apparent effort by the Township of Willingboro, a racially integrated community to stem what it perceived as the flight of white homeowners from the town. The Court of Appeals upheld the ordinance.

By an opinion filed today with the clerk, we hold that the ordinance violates the First Amendment.

We conclude that the law cannot be sustained on the ground that it restricts only one method of communication because the alternative it leaves open are unsatisfactory and because the township was concerned with the message of the signs rather than with the media.

We also conclude that the township's interest in promoting stable, integrated housing does not justify the ordinance since the law is not needed to achieve that objective and since the First Amendment disables the township from achieving that objective by restricting the free flow of truthful commercial information.

Mr. Justice Rehnquist took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Marshall.