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Mills v. Alabama
United States Supreme Court
384 U.S. 214 (1966)
The Alabama Corrupt Practices Act (the statute) made it illegal to solicit votes for or against a ballot initiative on election day. The statute was meant to maintain peace and order on election day by preventing any last-minute distribution of propaganda. The Birmingham Post-Herald, a newspaper edited by James E. Mills (defendant), published an editorial on election day asking readers to vote for a ballot initiative to replace the Birmingham city commission with a mayor-council system. Mills was arrested for violating the statute. Mills argued that the statute violated the freedom of the press. The trial court granted a demurrer on the criminal complaint before trial, which would have dismissed the case. Alabama (plaintiff) appealed. The Alabama Supreme Court reversed the trial court, holding instead that the statute was a reasonable restriction and limited the press to an acceptably small extent. Mills appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)
Concurrence (Douglas, J.)
Dissent (Harlan, J.)
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