Bantam Books, Inc. v. Sullivan 372 U.S. 58 (1963)

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BANTAM BOOKS, INC. v. SULLIVAN 372 U.S. 58 (1963)

In Bantam Books v. Sullivan the Supreme Court struck down a state system of informal censorship, holding that the regulation of obscenity must meet rigorous procedural safeguards to guard against the repression of constitutionally protected freedom of speech. Rhode Island had created a commission to educate the public concerning books unsuitable to youths. The commission informed book and magazine distributors that certain publications were "objectionable" for distribution to youths under eighteen years of age and threatened legal sanctions should a distributor fail to "cooperate." Distributors, rather than risk prosecution, had removed books from public circulation, resulting in the suppression of publications the state conceded were not obscene.

Kim Mclane Wardlaw