Brown v. Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska

640 F. Supp. 674 (1986)

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Brown v. Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska

United States District Court for the District of Nebraska
640 F. Supp. 674 (1986)

Facts

The Sheldon Film Theater, owned and operated by the University of Nebraska (defendant), scheduled a showing of Hail Mary, a controversial movie depicting the birth of Jesus Christ in a contemporary setting. The theater was located on campus and received funds from the university for operating costs. There was considerable backlash following the announcement. A Nebraska state senator, Bernice Labedz, called the theater, expressing her wish that the film screening be canceled because the film was blasphemous toward the Virgin Mary and might result in demonstrations. Labedz also mentioned that she intended to introduce a resolution officially objecting to the screening. The Nebraska legislature had reduced the theater’s funding in the past. Ultimately, the theater’s director, George Neubert (defendant), decided to cancel the screening because, according to him, it was offensive to the public and would take too much effort to defend. It was the first time a screening had been canceled at the theater. Randal Brown and other individuals wanting to see the film (plaintiffs) filed suit against Neubert and the University of Nebraska, alleging a violation of their First Amendment right to receive information and ideas. At trial, Neubert cited the political climate, the film’s controversy, and the likelihood of unrest as reasons for the cancellation.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Urbom, J.)

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