Secretary of State of Maryland v. Joseph H. Munson Company, Inc.

PETITIONER: Secretary of State of Maryland
RESPONDENT: Joseph H. Munson Company, Inc.
LOCATION: Clifford Residence

DOCKET NO.: 82-766
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: Maryland Court of Appeals

CITATION: 467 US 947 (1984)
ARGUED: Oct 31, 1983
DECIDED: Jun 26, 1984

Diana Gribbon Motz - on behalf of the Petitioner
Yale L. Goldberg - on behalf of the Respondent

Facts of the case


Media for Secretary of State of Maryland v. Joseph H. Munson Company, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 31, 1983 in Secretary of State of Maryland v. Joseph H. Munson Company, Inc.

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments first this morning in Secretary of State of Maryland against Joseph Munson Company.

Ms. Motz, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Diana Gribbon Motz:

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

All of the issues raised in this case can, I believe, be stated in a single question and that is is a state statute which only limits the amounts a charity may spend on some of its fundraising expenses and which provides the charity a complete exemption from even that limitation under certain circumstances overbroad on its face in violation of the First Amendment; that is has the statute been shown to have a substantial number of impermissible applications?

This case comes to this Court on the Secretary of the State of Maryland's petition for certiorari asking this Court to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals of Maryland which held such a statute facially overbroad.

Maryland has substantial interest, both because of its parent patria responsibility with regard to charities and because of its obligations to protect its citizens to ensure the integrity of charitable organizations.

The statute, which was invalidated by the Court below, was enacted in response to precisely these concerns as noted in its preamble for prior to its enactment in 1976 Maryland law provided, as it does now, for annual registration and disclosure of certain information by non-exempt charitable organizations and paid solicitors and for strict criminal penalties for fraudulent misrepresentation.

However, the Maryland legislature determined that these measures were not sufficient in light of the activities of some ostensibly charitable organization that had raised millions in contributions but had such excessively high expenses that little of that money had been used for charitable purposes.

William H. Rehnquist:

Ms. Motz, at some point in your argument are you going to discuss the standing question?

Diana Gribbon Motz:

Yes, sir.

I will address the standing question right now, Justice Rehnquist.

William H. Rehnquist:

Whenever you plan to get to it is fine.

I was hoping you would cover something about it.

Diana Gribbon Motz:

Well, Justice Rehnquist, perhaps I can address it right now.

I believe there are really sort of three standing questions here before the Court today.

There is the question of whether there is a case of controversy.

I don't think that there is really any dispute about that.

It seems to me there clearly is.

This is classically an adverse case.

We have on one side the State, who has its statute declared unconstitutional, and the other side, a party which may be suffer possible criminal prosecution under the statute and which may suffer economic injury if the statute is, in fact, validated by this Court.

The second type of standing... issue here is the jus tertii standing, the opportunity to present the rights of the Fraternal Order of Police by Munson in this case.

It is the State's position that there is no jus tertii standing here.

However, I am not sure that that issue is terribly important except in one respect and that is because in any event Munson is going to have to demonstrate overbreadth and it is the State's position that there is no overbreadth standing and there is not an overbreadth challenge on the merits here.

And, the determination of those two questions, it seems to me, are linked to the same kind of considerations.

William H. Rehnquist:

Do you think the Maryland Court of Appeals' ruling on standing was based on Maryland law or on federal law?

Diana Gribbon Motz:

I believe it was clearly based on federal law, Your Honor.

William H. Rehnquist:

They certainly cited mostly federal cases.

Diana Gribbon Motz:

This is the first case in Maryland in which there was ever found any jus tertii standing, the first case.

And, it was based, I think, quite clearly on Craig versus Boren and a series of cases of this Court and most particularly, of course, the Schaumburg case.

I was talking about the preamble to the legislation that we have at issue here.