, Talley v. California :: 362 U.S. 60 (1960) :: US LAW US Supreme Court Center

Talley v. California :: 362 U.S. 60 (1960) :: US LAW US Supreme Court Center

    U.S. Supreme Court

    Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60 (1960)

    Talley v. California

    No. 154

    Argued January thirteen-14, 1960

    Decided March 7, 1960

    362 U.S. 60


    Over petitioner s protest that it invaded his freedom of speech and press in violation of the Fourteenth and First Amendments to the Federal Constitution, he changed into convicted of violating a town ordinance which forbade distribution, in any place beneath any situations, of any handbill which did now not have printed thereon the name and address of the individual that prepared, disbursed or backed it.

    Held: the ordinance is void on its face, and the conviction is reversed. Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U. S. 444. Pp. 362 U. S. 60-66.

    172 Cal. App. 2d Supp. 797, 332 P.2nd 447, reversed.

    U.S. Supreme Court

    Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60 (1960)

    Talley v. California

    No. 154

    Argued January 13-14, 1960

    Decided March 7, 1960

    362 U.S. 60




    Over petitioner s protest that it invaded his freedom of speech and press in violation of the Fourteenth and First Amendments to the Federal Constitution, he became convicted of violating a metropolis ordinance which forbade distribution, in any area underneath any situations, of any handbill which did now not have published thereon the name and cope with of the individual that prepared, allotted or sponsored it.

    Held: the ordinance is void on its face, and the conviction is reversed. Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U. S. 444. Pp. 362 U. S. 60-sixty six.

    172 Cal. App. 2d Supp. 797, 332 P.2d 447, reversed.

    MR. JUSTICE BLACK added the opinion of the Court.

    The question supplied here is whether or not the provisions of a Los Angeles City ordinance limiting the distribution of handbills "abridge the freedom of speech and of the click secured towards nation invasion by way of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution." [Footnote 1] The ordinance, § 28.06 of the Municipal Code of the City of Los Angeles, offers:

    "No man or woman shall distribute any handbill in any place underneath any occasions, which does now not have

    Page 362 U. S. sixty one

    revealed on the duvet, or the face thereof, the name and deal with of the following:"

    "(a) The man or woman who printed, wrote, compiled or manufactured the identical."

    "(b) The individual who prompted the identical to be dispensed; furnished, however, that in the case of a fictitious individual or membership, further to such fictitious name, the actual names and addresses of the proprietors, managers or sellers of the character sponsoring said handbill shall additionally appear thereon."

    The petitioner became arrested and attempted in a Los Angeles Municipal Court for violating this ordinance. It become stipulated that the petitioner had allotted handbills in Los Angeles, and two of them had been offered in evidence. Each had printed on it the subsequent:

    "National Consumers Mobilization,"

    "Box 6533,"

    "Los Angeles fifty five, Calif."

    "PLeasant nine-1576."

    The handbills entreated readers to assist the business enterprise carry on a boycott against sure traders and businessmen, whose names have been given, at the floor that, as one set of handbills stated, they carried products of "manufacturers who will not offer identical employment opportunities to Negroes, Mexicans, and Orientals." There also seemed a blank which, if signed, would request enrollment of the signer as a "member of National Consumers Mobilization," and which become preceded by way of a statement that "I consider that every man must have an identical opportunity for employment irrespective of what his race, faith, or location of delivery."

    The Municipal Court held that the statistics imprinted on the handbills did not meet the requirements of the ordinance, observed the petitioner guilty as charged, and fined him $10. The Appellate Department of the Superior

    Page 362 U. S. 62

    Court of the County of Los Angeles affirmed the conviction, rejecting petitioner s competition, timely made in each state courts, that the ordinance invaded his freedom of speech and press in violation of the Fourteenth and First Amendments to the Federal Constitution. [Footnote 2] 172 Cal. App. 2nd Supp. 797, 332 P.2nd 447. Since this turned into the highest country courtroom available to petitioner, we granted certiorari to take into account this constitutional competition. 360 U.S. 928.

    In Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U. S. 444, we held void on its face an ordinance that comprehensively forbade any distribution of literature at any time or place in Griffin, Georgia, without a license. Pamphlets and leaflets, it become talked about, "have been historical guns within the defense of liberty," [Footnote three] and enforcement of the Griffin ordinance "could repair the system of license and censorship in its baldest form." Id. at 303 U. S. 452. A 12 months later, we had before us four ordinances each forbidding distribution of leaflets -- one in Irvington, New Jersey, one in Los Angeles, California, one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and one

    Page 362 U. S. 63

    in Worcester, Massachusetts. Schneider v. State, 308 U. S. 147. Efforts were made to distinguish those four ordinances from the only held void within the Griffin case. The leader grounds advised for distinction had been that the four ordinances had been handed to prevent either frauds, disorder, or littering, in step with the data in those instances, and every other ground urged become that two of the ordinances implemented handiest to certain town areas. This Court refused to uphold the 4 ordinances on the ones grounds, mentioning that there have been other methods to perform those valid pursuits without abridging freedom of speech and press. Frauds, street littering, and disorderly behavior will be denounced and punished as offenses, the Court stated. Several years later we followed the Griffin and Schneider instances in striking down a Dallas, Texas, ordinance which become applied to prohibit the dissemination of facts with the aid of the distribution of handbills. We said that, although a city may want to punish any character for conduct at the streets if he violates a valid regulation,

    "one who is rightfully on a road . . . contains with him there as elsewhere the constitutional right to specific his views in an orderly fashion . . . by handbills and literature in addition to by way of the spoken phrase."

    Jamison v. Texas, 318 U. S. 413, 318 U. S. 416.

    The vast ordinance now earlier than us, barring distribution of "any handbill in any vicinity beneath any situations," [Footnote four] falls precisely below the ban of our previous instances unless this ordinance is stored by using the qualification that handbills may be dispensed if they have revealed on them the names and addresses of the persons who organized, distributed

    Page 362 U. S. 64

    or sponsored them. For, as in Griffin, the ordinance here isn't constrained to handbills whose content is "obscene or offensive to public morals or that advocates unlawful behavior." [Footnote 5] Counsel has urged that this ordinance is aimed toward offering a way to pick out those liable for fraud, fake advertising and marketing and libel. Yet the ordinance is in no way so limited, nor have we been referred to any legislative records indicating this kind of purpose. Therefore, we do no longer pass at the validity of an ordinance restrained to save you these or every other meant evils. This ordinance definitely bars all handbills underneath all circumstances anywhere that do not have the names and addresses printed on them in the vicinity the ordinance requires.

    There can be no question that such an identity requirement would generally tend to restrict freedom to distribute records, and thereby freedom of expression.

    "Liberty of circulating is as vital to that freedom as liberty of publishing; indeed, with out the stream, the guide could be of little fee."

    Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U.S. at 303 U. S. 452.

    Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures or even books have performed an essential function in the development of mankind. Persecuted agencies and sects sometimes all through history were capable of criticize oppressive practices and legal guidelines either anonymously or under no circumstances. The obnoxious press licensing law of England, which become additionally enforced at the Colonies, turned into due in part to the knowledge that exposure of the names of printers, writers and vendors would reduce the circulate of literature crucial of the government. The old seditious libel cases in England display the lengths to which authorities had to visit find out who turned into responsible for books that had been obnoxious

    Page 362 U. S. 65

    to the rulers. John Lilburne changed into whipped, pilloried, and fined for refusing to answer questions designed to get proof to convict him or a person else for the name of the game distribution of books in England. Two Puritan Ministers, John Penry and John Udal, have been sentenced to dying on fees that they were accountable for writing, printing or publishing books. [Footnote 6] Before the Revolutionary War colonial patriots frequently needed to disguise their authorship or distribution of literature that without problems could have added down on them prosecutions by means of English-managed courts. Along approximately that point, the Letters of Junius were written, and the identification in their author is unknown to at the present time. [Footnote 7] Even the Federalist Papers, written in choose of the adoption of our Constitution, have been published underneath fictitious names. It is apparent that anonymity has occasionally been assumed for the maximum optimistic purposes.

    We have currently had occasion to maintain in two cases that there are times and instances when States may not compel individuals of organizations engaged within the dissemination of ideas to be publicly diagnosed. Bates v. Little Rock, 361 U. S. 516; NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U. S. 449, 357 U. S. 462. The motive for those holdings become that identity and fear of reprisal might deter perfectly peaceful discussions of public matters of significance. This huge Los Angeles ordinance is problem to the same illness. We preserve that it, just like the Griffin, Georgia, ordinance, is void on its face.

    Page 362 U. S. sixty six

    The judgment of the Appellate Department of the Superior Court of the State of California is reversed, and the purpose is remanded to it for similarly court cases not inconsistent with this opinion.

    It is so ordered.

    [Footnote 1]

    Schneider v. State, 308 U. S. 147, 308 U. S. 154. Cf. Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U. S. 444, 303 U. S. 450.

    [Footnote 2]

    Petitioner additionally argues right here that the ordinance, both on its face and as construed and carried out, "arbitrarily denies petitioner equal safety of the legal guidelines in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection" Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. This argument is primarily based on the reality that the ordinance applies to handbills best, and does no longer include within its proscription books, magazines and newspapers. Our disposition of the case makes it pointless to take into account this rivalry.

    [Footnote three]

    The Court s entire sentence changed into:

    "These [pamphlets and leaflets] certainly have been ancient weapons in the protection of liberty, as the pamphlets of Thomas Paine and others in our very own history abundantly attest."

    It has been stated that a number of Thomas Paine s pamphlets had been signed with pseudonyms. See Bleyer, Main Currents in the History of American Journalism (1927) 90-93. Illustrations of other nameless and pseudonymous pamphlets and different writings used to speak about vital public questions may be discovered on this identical volume.

    [Footnote 4]

    Section 28.00 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code defines "handbill" as follows:

    " Hand-invoice shall imply any handbill, dodger, industrial advertising round, folder, book, letter, card, pamphlet, sheet, poster, decal, banner, word or different written, published or painted count number calculated to attract interest of the public."

    [Footnote five]

    Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U.S. at 303 U. S. 451.

    [Footnote 6]

    Penry changed into completed, and Udal died as a result of his confinement. 1 Hallam, The Constitutional History of England (1855) 205-206, 232.

    [Footnote 7]

    In one of the letters, written May 28, 1770, the author asked the following question about the tea tax imposed in this usa, a query which he ought to hardly ever have asked but for his anonymity:

    "What is it then, however an odious, unprofitable exertion of a speculative right, and fixing a badge of slavery upon the Americans, with out carrier to their masters?"

    2 Letters of Junius (1821) 39.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, concurring.

    In judging the validity of municipal action affecting rights of speech or affiliation protected towards invasion via the Fourteenth Amendment, I do not trust that we can escape, as Mr. Justice Roberts stated in Schneider v. New Jersey, 308 U. S. 147, 308 U. S. 161, "the delicate and tough challenge" of weighing "the circumstances" and appraising "the substantiality of the reasons advanced in guide of the law of the free entertainment of" speech. More recently we have stated that state movement impinging on unfastened speech and association will no longer be sustained except the governmental interest asserted to aid such impingement is compelling. See NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U. S. 449, 357 U. S. 463-464; Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U. S. 234, 354 U. S. 265 (concurring opinion); see additionally Bates v. Little Rock, 361 U. S. 516.

    Here, the State says that this ordinance is geared toward the prevention of "fraud, deceit, false advertising, negligent use of phrases, obscenity, and libel," in that it will resource inside the detection of those liable for spreading material of that person. But the ordinance is not so confined, and I think it'll now not do for the State honestly to say that the movement of all nameless handbills should be suppressed with a purpose to discover the vendors of these that can be of an obnoxious man or woman. In the absence of a more tremendous showing as to Los Angeles actual enjoy with the distribution of obnoxious handbills, * any such

    Page 362 U. S. 67

    generality is for me too far off to supply a constitutionally ideal justification for the deterrent effect on loose speech which this all-embracing ordinance is probable to have.

    On those grounds, I concur inside the judgment of the Court.

    * On the oral argument the City Lawyer said:

    "We have been able to discover that, previous to 1931, an attempt turned into made with the aid of the neighborhood Chamber of Commerce, urging the City Council to do something about these handbills and marketing matters which had been fake and deceptive -- had no names of sponsors. They were particularly interested in the fictional name. They said, Who are those humans that are distributing; who're marketing; doing matters of that type? The meager report that we had been capable of locate shows that a request from the Council to the City Lawyer as to their legal opinion on this problem [sic]. The City Lawyer wrote returned and shaped the belief that distribution of handbills, pamphlets, or other topics, without the name of the fictional corporation or officers might be criminal [sic]. Thereafter, in the early a part of 1932, an ordinance turned into drafted and submitted to the City Council, and permitted via them, which associated with the authentic subject -- unlawful for any person, firm or affiliation to distribute in the metropolis of Los Angeles any commercial or handbill -- or some other count which does now not have the names of the sponsors of such literature."


    To me, Los Angeles ordinance can not be examine as being void on its face. Certainly a fair reading of it does now not permit a conclusion that it prohibits the distribution of handbills "of any kind at any time at any area, and in any way," Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U. S. 444, 303 U. S. 451 (1938), as the Court appears to finish. In Griffin, the ordinance completely prohibited the unlicensed distribution of any handbills. As I study it, the ordinance here merely prohibits the distribution of a handbill which does no longer convey the identification of the call of the person that "published, wrote, compiled . . . synthetic [or] . . . triggered" the distribution of it. There ought to nicely be a compelling motive for this kind of requirement. The Court implies as a good deal while it observes that Los Angeles has now not "referred

    Page 362 U. S. 68

    to any legislative history indicating" that the ordinance turned into adopted for the motive of stopping "fraud, false marketing and libel." But, whilst to its legislative background, there is pertinent fabric which the Court overlooks. At oral argument, the City s chief law enforcement officer stated that the ordinance changed into originally counseled in 1931 by using the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce in a criticism to the City Council urging it to "do something about these handbills and advertising topics which have been fake and deceptive." Upon inquiry by means of the Council, he said, the matter became noted his office, and the Council turned into cautioned that such an ordinance as the existing one might be legitimate. He in addition stated that this ordinance, regarding the unique inquiry of the Chamber of Commerce, changed into thereafter drafted and submitted to the Council. It became adopted in 1932. In the face of this and the presumption of validity that the ordinance enjoys, the Court although moves it down, pointing out that it "falls exactly underneath the ban of our previous instances." This can't comply with, for, in each of the 3 cases referred to, the ordinances either "forbade any distribution of literature . . . with out a license," Lovell v. Griffin, supra, or forbade, without exception, any distribution of handbills at the streets, Jamison v. Texas, 318 U. S. 413; or, as in Schneider v. New Jersey, 308 U. S. 147 (1939), which included exclusive ordinances in 4 towns, they have been either outright bans or previous restraints upon the distribution of handbills. I consequently can not see how the Court can finish that the Los Angeles ordinance here "falls exactly" underneath any of those instances. On the opposite, to my mind, they neither manage this situation nor are apposite to it. In truth, in Schneider, depended upon with the aid of the Court, it changed into held, via Mr. Justice Roberts, that,

    "In each case . . . wherein legislative abridgment of the rights is declared, the courts must be astute to look at the impact of the challenged rules . . . ,

    Page 362 U. S. sixty nine

    weigh the instances, and . . . appraise the substantiality of the reasons advanced. . . ."

    Id. at 308 U. S. 161. The Court right here, however, makes no appraisal of the instances, or the substantiality of the claims of the litigants, but strikes down the ordinance as being "void on its face." I can't be a party to using the sort of tool as an escape from the requirements of our instances, the ultra-modern of which turned into surpassed down simplest last month. Bates v. Little Rock, 361 U. S. 516. [Footnote 2/1]

    Therefore, before passing upon the validity of the ordinance, I could weigh the pursuits of the public in its enforcement in opposition to the claimed proper of Talley. The record is barren of any declare, much less proof, that he'll go through any harm something through figuring out the handbill with his call. Unlike NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U. S. 449 (1958), that's relied upon, there's neither allegation nor proof that Talley or any institution sponsoring him would go through "economic reprisal, lack of employment, chance of bodily coercion [or] different manifestations of public hostility." Id. at 357 U. S. 462. Talley makes no showing whatever to aid his competition that a restraint upon his freedom of speech will result from the enforcement of the ordinance. The existence of any such restraint is important before we will strike the ordinance down.

    But even supposing the State had this burden, which it does now not, the substantiality of Los Angeles hobby inside the enforcement of the ordinance sustains its validity. Its leader law enforcement officer says that the enforcement of the ordinance prevents "fraud, deceit, fake marketing, negligent use of phrases, obscenity, and libel," and, as we've got said, that such turned into its motive. In the absence of

    Page 362 U. S. 70

    any showing to the opposite via Talley, this seems to me totally enough.

    I stand second to none in supporting Talley s right of free speech -- but now not his freedom of anonymity. The Constitution say nothing about freedom of nameless speech. In reality, this Court has authorised laws requiring no much less than Los Angeles ordinance. I post that they control this case, and require its approval underneath the attack made right here. First, Lewis Publishing Co. v. Morgan, 229 U. S. 288 (1913), upheld an Act of Congress requiring any newspaper using the second one-class mails to post the names of its editor, publisher, proprietor, and stockholders. 39 U.S.C. § 233. Second, in the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act, 2 U.S.C. § 267, Congress requires the ones engaged in lobbying to disclose their identities and give "a modicum of facts" to Congress. United States v. Harriss, 347 U. S. 612, 347 U. S. 625 (1954). Third, the numerous States have corrupt practices acts outlawing, inter alia, the distribution of anonymous guides close to political applicants. [Footnote 2/2] While these statutes are leveled at political marketing campaign and election practices, the underlying ground sustaining their validity applies with same force here.

    No civil proper has a more claim to constitutional safety or requires extra rigorous safeguarding than balloting rights. In this region, the threat of coercion and reprisals -- economic and in any other case -- is a matter of common information. Yet these statutes, disallowing anonymity in selling one s views in election campaigns, have expressed the overwhelming public coverage of the Nation. Nevertheless, the Court is silent approximately this wonderful authority relevant to the disposition of this situation.

    Page 362 U. S. 71

    All three of the sorts of statutes stated are designed to save you the equal abuses -- libel, slander, fake accusations, and many others. The truth that a number of these statutes are aimed toward elections, lobbying, and the mails makes their restraint no extra palatable, nor the abuses they prevent less deleterious to the public interest, than the existing ordinance.

    All that Los Angeles calls for is that one who physical activities his right of loose speech via writing or dispensing handbills pick out himself, simply as does one who speaks from the platform. The ordinance makes for the duty in writing this is found in public utterance. When and if the software of such an ordinance in a given case encroaches on First Amendment freedoms, then will be quickly sufficient to strike that software down. But no such restraint has been shown right here. After all, the general public has a few rights towards which the enforcement of freedom of speech would be "harsh and arbitrary in itself." Kovacs v. Cooper, 336 U. S. 77, 336 U. S. 88 (1949). We have upheld whole proscription of uninvited door-to-door canvassing as an invasion of privacy. Breard v. Alexandria, 341 U. S. 622 (1951). Is this much less restrictive than complete freedom of distribution -- irrespective of content material -- of a signed handbill? And commercial handbills may be declared verboten, Valentine v. Chrestensen, 316 U. S. 52 (1942), irrespective of content or identification. Is Talley s anonymous handbill, designed to spoil the commercial enterprise of a commercial established order, exceeded out at its very front door, and attacking its then lawful business practices, extra comportable with First Amendment freedoms? I think not. Before we may expect global responsibility amongst international locations, won't it be properly to require character obligation at domestic.? Los Angeles ordinance does no greater.

    Contrary to petitioner s competition, the ordinance, as carried out, does now not arbitrarily deprive him of identical safety

    Page 362 U. S. 72

    of the regulation. He complains that handbills are singled out, even as other printed media -- books, magazines, and newspapers -- remain unrestrained. However,

    "[t]he trouble of legislative category is a perennial one, admitting of no doctrinaire definition. Evils in the equal subject may be of different dimensions and proportions, requiring special treatments. . . . Or the reform may take one step at a time, addressing itself to the section of the problem which appears maximum acute to the legislative mind. . . . The prohibition of the Equal Protection Clause is going no further than the invidious discrimination. [I] cannot say that that point has been reached here."

    Williamson v. Lee Optical, 348 U. S. 483, 348 U. S. 489 (1955).

    I dissent.

    [Footnote 2/1]

    "When it's far proven that kingdom action threatens appreciably to impinge upon constitutionally included freedom, it turns into the responsibility of this Court to decide whether or not the action bears an inexpensive relationship to the fulfillment of the authorities motive asserted as its justification."

    361 U.S. at 361 U. S. 525.

    [Footnote 2/2]

    Thirty-six States have statutes prohibiting the nameless distribution of substances regarding elections. E.g.: Kan.G.S.1949, § 25-1714; M.S.A. § 211.08; Page s Ohio R.C. § 3599.09; Purdon s Pa.Stat.Ann., Title 25, § 3546.

    Oral Argument - January 14, 1960
    Oral Argument - January thirteen, 1960
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