Petitioner desired to display for profit a privately owned submarine. Upon application, he was denied permission to tie up at the New York City docks, and so he obtained permission to use state-owned docks. He petitioned the police commissioner for permission to distribute handbills advertising his display, but because of a New York City ordinance providing that any handbill which was commercial in nature could not be circulated, this was refused. Petitioner then prepared a handbill with commercial matter referring to the display on one side, and on the other side a protest against the city's refusal to allow petitioner to tie up at its docks. Permission to circulate this handbill was refused under the same ordinance, whereupon petitioner sought an injunction against the enforcement of the ordinance, contending that it denied freedom of expression and thus violated due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment. Held, without deciding the validity of an ordinance prohibiting purely commercial handbills, the ordinance as applied to a handbill which combined a public protest with advertisement is unconstitutional. One judge dissented. Chrestensen v. Valentine, (C. C. A. 2d, 1941) 122 F. (2d) 511.
Edward W. Adams,
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - DUE PROCESS OF LAW - FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN COMMERCIAL HANDBILLS,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol40/iss4/7