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Lovell v. City of Griffin 303 U.S. 444 (1938)

LOVELL v. CITY OF GRIFFIN 303 U.S. 444 (1938)

A municipal ordinance prohibited the distribution of circulars or any other literature within Griffin without a permit from the city manager. Chief Justice charles evans hughes, for a unanimous Court, held the Griffin ordinance unconstitutional. The ordinance provided no standards to guide the city manager's decision. To vest an official with absolute discretion to issue or deny a permit was an unconstitutional prior restraint that violated the first amendment. Because the ordinance was invalid on its face, Lovell was entitled to distribute her literature without seeking a permit, and to challenge the ordinance's validity when she was charged with its violation.

Richard E. Morgan
(1986)

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