Logourl black
From our private database of 14,100+ case briefs...

Branzburg v. Hayes

United States Supreme Court
408 U.S. 665 (1972)


Facts

Branzburg, a staff reporter for the Courier-Journal, wrote an article describing in detail his observation of two young residents of Jefferson County synthesizing hashish from marijuana. Branzburg was subpoenaed but refused to identify the residents. A state trial court judge ordered him to answer and rejected his argument that his refusal was protected by the First Amendment. Pappas, a television newsman-photographer secretly recorded and photographed a prepared statement read by a leader of the Black Panthers. Pappas was later summoned before the Bristol County Grand Jury and asked what he observed with the Black Panthers. He refused to answer any questions, citing the First Amendment protection of the freedom of the press. Earl Caldwell, a New York Times reporter, covered the Black Panther Party’s activities. He refused to respond to a subpoena requiring him to produce information gathered about this group. Hayes and other prosecutors (plaintiffs) held Branzburg, Pappas, and Caldwell (defendants) in contempt of court. Branzburg, Pappas, and Caldwell challenged their contempt convictions on the ground that the First Amendment protected them. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider the consolidated cases.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Concurrence (Powell, J.)

The concurrence section is for members only and includes a summary of the concurring judge or justice’s opinion.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Dissent (Stewart, J.)

The dissent section is for members only and includes a summary of the dissenting judge or justice’s opinion.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 220,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.