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Court Cases Page Court Cases Page Court Cases Page Court Cases Page

AP US Government and Politics

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Unit

Supreme Court Case Resource Booklet


Compiled from:


Oyez.org

Findlaw.com

This Nation.com: American Politics and Government Online

Barron v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore

Docket:

None

Citation:

32 U.S. 243 (1833)

Petitioner:

Barron

Respondent:

Mayor and City Council of Baltimore




Case Media

Abstract

Oral Argument:

Monday, February 11, 1833

Decision:

Saturday, February 16, 1833

Categories:

bill-of-rights, federalism, fifth amendment, incorporation




Advocates

Not available




Facts of the Case

John Barron was co-owner of a profitable wharf in the harbor of Baltimore. As the city developed and expanded, large amounts of sand accumulated in the harbor, depriving Barron of the deep waters which had been the key to his successful business. He sued the city to recover a portion of his financial losses.



Question

Does the Fifth Amendment deny the states as well as the national government the right to take private property for public use without justly compensating the property's owner?



Conclusion

No. The Court announced its decision in this case without even hearing the arguments of the City of Baltimore. Writing for the unanimous Court, Chief Justice Marshall found that the limitations on government articulated in the Fifth Amendment were specifically intended to limit the powers of the national government. Citing the intent of the framers and the development of the Bill of Rights as an exclusive check on the government in Washington D.C., Marshall argued that the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction in this case since the Fifth Amendment was not applicable to the states.



Cite this page

The Oyez Project, Barron v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, 32 U.S. 243 (1833),


available at:
(last visited Sunday, February 24, 2008).


Gitlow v. New York

Docket:

19

Citation:

268 U.S. 652 (1925)

Petitioner:

Gitlow

Respondent:

New York




Case Media

  • No media files currently available

  • Written Opinion

Abstract

Oral Argument:

Thursday, April 12, 1923

Oral Reargument:

Friday, November 23, 1923

Decision:

Monday, June 8, 1925

Categories:

criminal, federalism, first amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, incorporation, national security, police power




Advocates

John Caldwell Myers

(Assistant District Attorney of New York County argued the cause for New York)

Walter H. Pollak

(Argued the cause for Gitlow)

W. J. Weatherbee

(Argued the cause for New York)




Facts of the Case

Gitlow, a socialist, was arrested for distributing copies of a "left-wing manifesto" that called for the establishment of socialism through strikes and class action of any form. Gitlow was convicted under a state criminal anarchy law, which punished advocating the overthrow of the government by force. At his trial, Gitlow argued that since there was no resulting action flowing from the manifesto's publication, the statute penalized utterences without propensity to incitement of concrete action. The New York courts had decided that anyone who advocated the doctrine of violent revolution violated the law.



Question

Does the New York law punishing the advocacy of overthrowing the government an unconstitutional violation of the free speech clause of the First Amendment?



Conclusion

Threshold issue: Does the First Amendment apply to the states? Yes, by virtue of the liberty protected by due process that no state shall deny (14th Amendment). On the merits, a state may forbid both speech and publication if they have a tendency to result in action dangerous to public security, even though such utterances create no clear and present danger. The rationale of the majority has sometimes been called the "dangerous tendency" test. The legislature may decide that an entire class of speech is so dangerous that it should be prohibited. Those legislative decisions will be upheld if not unreasonable, and the defendant will be punished even if her speech created no danger at all.



Cite this page

The Oyez Project, Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925),


available at:
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