Freedman v. Maryland 380 U.S. 51 (1965)
FREEDMAN v. MARYLAND 380 U.S. 51 (1965)
Although the Supreme Court often remarks that the first amendment imposes a heavy presumption against the validity of any system of prior restraint on expression, the Court has tolerated state censorship of motion pictures through advance licensing. Typically, such a law authorizes a censorship board to deny a license to a film on the ground of obscenity. Other substantive standards ("immoral," "tending to corrupt morals") have been held invalid for vagueness. In addition, the Court insists that the licensing system's procedures follow strict guidelines designed to avoid the chief evils of censorship. Freedman is the leading decision establishing these guidelines.
In a test case, a Baltimore theater owner showed a concededly innocuous film without submitting it to the state censorship board, and he was convicted of a violation of state law. The Supreme Court unanimously reversed the conviction. The Freedman opinion, by Justice william j. brennan, set three procedural requirements for film censorship. First, the censor must have the burden of proving that the film is "unprotected expression" (for example, obscenity). Second, while the state may insist that all films be submitted for advance screening, the censor's determination cannot be given the effect of finality; a judicial determination is required. Thus the censor must, "within a specified brief period, either issue a license or go to court to restrain showing of the film." Advance restraint, before the issue gets to court, must be of the minimum duration consistent with orderly employment of the judicial machinery. Third, the court's decision itself must be prompt. Maryland's statute failed all three parts of this test and accordingly was an unconstitutional prior restraint. Justices william o. douglas and hugo l. black, concurring, would have held any advance censorship impermissible.
Kenneth L. Karst
"Freedman v. Maryland 380 U.S. 51 (1965)." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 20, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/freedman-v-maryland-380-us-51-1965
"Freedman v. Maryland 380 U.S. 51 (1965)." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. . Retrieved January 20, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/freedman-v-maryland-380-us-51-1965
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.