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Grosjean v. American Press Co.
United States Supreme Court
297 U.S. 233 (1936)
In 1934, the Louisiana legislature imposed a license tax on businesses that sold advertisements. The tax applied to businesses that had (1) ads printed or published in print publications with a circulation of more than 20,000 copies per week, (2) ads that were displayed and exhibited, or (3) ads displayed and exhibited in motion pictures. The tax was 2 percent of the gross receipts of the business. Nine newspaper publishers (the publishers) (plaintiffs), including American Press Co., owned 13 newspapers that were subject to the tax. Revenue from the newspapers came from subscriptions and ad sales. The publishers filed suit seeking a decree (1) that the tax violated First Amendment protections for the press as enforced through § 1 of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and (2) that the tax violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The lower court issued a decree in favor of the publishers and granted a permanent injunction preventing the collection of the license tax from them. The United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Sutherland, J.)
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