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Kunz v. New York

340 U.S. 290 (1951)

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Kunz v. New York

United States Supreme Court

340 U.S. 290 (1951)

Facts

New York City (plaintiff) enacted an ordinance (the ordinance) requiring people who wanted to hold worship services on the streets to obtain a permit from the city police commissioner (the commissioner). The commissioner had discretion as to whether accept or reject applications for permits. Carl Jacob Kunz (defendant) was an ordained Baptist minister who preached on city streets. In 1946 Kunz received a permit from the commissioner. Later that year, Kunz’s permit was revoked because he regularly attacked Catholic and Jewish people during his sermons. Kunz applied for permits in accordance with the ordinance in 1947 and 1948, but his applications were rejected both years without any explanation from the commissioner other than that the rejection was for good reasons. In 1948 Kunz was convicted and fined $10 for preaching on the streets without a permit. Kunz challenged the ordinance, arguing it was an invalid restriction of the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and religion. The New York Court of Special Sessions and New York Court of Appeals affirmed Kunz’s conviction under the ordinance. Kunz appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Vinson, C.J.)

Dissent (Jackson, J.)

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