NAACP v. Overstreet

PETITIONER: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
RESPONDENT: Overstreet
LOCATION: Congress

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1965-1967)

CITATION: 384 US 118 (1966)
ARGUED: Mar 29, 1966
DECIDED: Apr 27, 1966

Facts of the case


Media for NAACP v. Overstreet

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 29, 1966 in NAACP v. Overstreet

Earl Warren:

Number 505, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People et al., petitioners, versus Haldred Overstreet.

Mr. Carter?

Robert L. Carter:

I think that in order to get the issues in this case clear I would, if the Court will, I like to give the background facts in this case first.

This case arose when the respondent who is the owner of a tropical market grocery and meat store in the Negro neighborhood in Savannah, Georgia.

An employee of his, which was about a 15-year-old Negro boy, indicated to his mother that he had been hit by the proprietor of this store.

A warrant was taken out for the respondent and he was interrogated and investigated by officers.

The mother indicated that after she had made the complaint to the police that she received some threatening telephone calls as a the result that she got in touch with the local N.A.A.C.P. which was in Savannah.

They had a meeting and had a circular out in which they indicated people to come to hear about this brutality by this man as a result of the meeting in which one of the defendants below, Mr. Law was the president of the local branch and a Reverend Jordan who was the vice president, attended.

The branch decided that they would have picket around the store of the respondent.

The testimony on the part of Law is that they put two on each corner around this -- around it.

They were instructed to be peaceful and so forth and so on.

As a result of this picketing which began on June 1 and lasted until an injunction was issued on June 22, this was suit for damage was brought against the local N.A.A.C.P. against the State N.A.A.C.P. against the two individuals and against a New York Corporation.

The -- a word of damages by the jury on the basis of the facts was a $35 judgment -- $35,000 judgment.

The ordinary damages against the -- all of the defendants and a $50,000 judgment of punitive damages are against all of the defendants.

An appeal was taken through the Supreme Court of Georgia and it was affirmed as to all but the Georgia State Conference.

We brought the case here alleging the -- there was a violation of various rights of peaceful picketing and this Court granted certiorari and regrettably limited certiorari to the validity of the judgment as against the New York Corporation.

That is the issue which is before the Court at the present time.

That is whether the judgment of $85,000 which the New York Corporation is liable is valid and is attainable.

We think that the question on that if the Court pleases is not closed.

There was no evidence in this record.

Hugo L. Black:

Do you think what?

Robert L. Carter:

-- that the question is not a closed one.

We think that the -- there's no evidence in this record to show in any respect that the New York Corporation was present or was anyway responsible or condoned or affirmed or benefit or any of the rational upon which it's responsibility could be established for these acts that this has not been shown at all.

Potter Stewart:

Mr. Carter was there any question of service on the jurisdiction over this petitioner?

Robert L. Carter:

I beg your pardon sir.

Potter Stewart:

Is there any question in this case of whether or not the Court had jurisdiction over this petitioner that is whether or not the service upon them was a profit.

Robert L. Carter:

We -- no.

We don't think -- quite frankly we don't think that question is here.

Potter Stewart:

Now, I should think that they included in the question to which the grant of certiorari was limited.

Robert L. Carter:

The problem --