Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Jacobellis v. Ohio
|Jacobellis v. Ohio|
Supreme Court of the United States
| Argued March 26, 1963|
Decided June 22, 1964
|The First Amendment, as applied through the Fourteenth, protected a movie theatre manager from being prosecuted for possessing and showing a film that was not obscene.|
|U.S. Const. amend. I, XIV; Ohio Rev. Code § 2905.34|
Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964) was a United States Supreme Court decision handed down in 1964 involving whether the state of Ohio could, consistent with the First Amendment, ban the showing of a French film called "Les Amants" ("The Lovers") which the state had deemed obscene.
Nico Jacobellis, manager of a theatre in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, was fined $2500 by a judge for exhibiting the film, and his conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court of Ohio.
The U.S. Supreme Court reversed, ruling that the film was not obscene and hence constitutionally protected. However, the Court could not agree as to a rationale, yielding four different opinions from the majority, with none garnering the support of more than two justices, as well as two dissenting opinions. The judgment of the Court was announced by William J. Brennan, but his opinion was joined only by Justice Arthur Goldberg. Justices Hugo Black, joined by Justice William O. Douglas, reiterated his well-known view that the First Amendment does not permit censorship of any kind. Chief Justice Earl Warren, in dissent, decried the confused state of the Court's obscenity jurisprudence and argued that Ohio's action was consistent with the Court's decision in Roth v. United States and furthered important state interests. Justice John Marshall Harlan II also dissented, believing that states should have "wide, but not federally unrestricted" power to ban obscene films.
The most famous opinion from Jacobellis, however, was Justice Potter Stewart's concurrence, holding that the Constitution protected all obscenity except "hard-core pornography." Stewart wrote, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that." (emphasis added)
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details